Near death experiences are now unfortunately a common occurrence for many Grahamstonian drivers. Megan Whittington shares her recent ordeal.
As taught by my driving instructor, I looked left and right for oncoming traffic when I came to a halt at the stop sign at the end of Allen Street. On my left it was clear. But on my right, all that was visible were trucks and cars, parked on the side of the road.
I leaned forward in my seat and inched forward onto African Street, sensing the growing impatience of the queue of cars behind me. Just then, a large bakkie flew past me, scaring the crap out of me which caused me to brake sharply.
Driving down many of Grahamstown’s busy streets, it’s common to come across some unorthodox parking and loading situations. Cars park where there are no designated bays, essentially making roads one-way only. Trucks do the same when making deliveries. Their bulk makes it almost impossible to see past them when parked near a stop street or driveway.
African Street is sometimes a favourite spot for traffic cops (I would know), but it seems that they are taking no remedial action. Surely the danger posed by these motorists can’t be acceptable. What actions should be taken to protect the safety of Grahamstown citizens?
An investigation of some of the rules regarding parking and loading in South Africa was a revelation. Road Safety Education published by the Department of Transport says it’s illegal to park or even stop a vehicle in a position that may be a danger to other people on the road. Specifically, parking within five metres of an intersection is prohibited.
We all know Makana Municipality is currently in turmoil. But Grahamstown citizens can take action. Trucks making deliveries almost always have their company names on the vehicle. Some even display a ‘how is my driving’ sticker or a phone number. This means it’s easy to report dangerous driving and parking to the trucks’ owners. Complaints should also be made to the shops to which these trucks are delivering goods.
The issue of cars is more complicated, but taking down number plates and reporting them to the traffic department remains an option. Active citizenship and more traffic cop presence will go a long way towards making errant motorists accountable.