I Thought It Was Solved, But Now I’m Even More Confused

I came across this the other day, on Amanda Sevasti’s blog. A post listing a few short differences between Jozi and Cape Town drivers. One of the points that struck me:

Traffic circles: I keep getting hooted at when I go through traffic circles. Why? Joburg drivers treat them as 4-way stops. The concept of “Yield to the right” has not trekked north yet.”

In Joburg, traffic circles are problematic. No one really actually knows how to treat them, or how to react. Many a time, I’ve had to slam on anchors, to avoid getting taken out by some mancunt who doesn’t use his peripheral vision (or his fucking mirrors) to see that I’m right fucking there, and just tries to take the second exit, from THE FUCKING INSIDE.

I was taught (by a driving school, and not that long ago either) that traffic circles are to be treated as four way stops. Fair enough. Until I had a fender bender in the traffic circle, because some other dipshit wasn’t following the rules, and THEN BLAMED IT ON ME.

In Joburg, traffic circles are problematic. More specifically, two-landed traffic circles. Two lanes of traffic, with four possible exits makes a fuckup near certain, every single fucking time. I thought the issue had been addressed, after being informed by Brent, Alistair & Amanda (on Twitter) that traffic circles mean yield to the right.

Problem solved, I thought. Until I got to my next traffic circle, and yet again. Another near-fuckup. So what do I do? Automatically assume I must be the one doing it wrong, and go out of my way to avoid all two-laned traffic circles at all costs.

After reading Amanda’s post, and the comments, I’m now even more confused than before. Apparently there are two types of traffic circles. Mini-circles and roundabouts. The first one has a sign like this:

And here’s how you’re supposed to behave when you see this sign. (ie: four way stop)

The second one has a sign like this:

And here’s how you’re supposed to behave when you see this sign. (ie: yield to the right)

But. what I’m confused about – is when you see the two of them together, like this traffic circle – not that far from my house.

In short: WTF is up with traffic circles, and HTF are you actually SUPPOSED to use two-laned traffic circles, without wearing out your brakes, or endangering your fenders?

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13 Responses to I Thought It Was Solved, But Now I’m Even More Confused

  1. Po says:

    OH MY GOD. I am never driving in South Africa. Here in the UK they only use roundabouts, they almost never use robots. And there is no such thing as a four way stop. I don’t even know what that is. Here you yield to the right and that is it. Should be simple except that people don’t indicate and new learners like me quake in terror every time I enter one.

    Imagine if I tried to drive the UK way in SA? I would be dead within the day.
    .-= Po´s last blog ..Memory lane =-.

  2. Louisa says:

    No one knows for sure – that’s the beauty of it. So just own the gap and scream loudest if anything should go wrong. When you have a GP number plate people just assume you’re an asshole anyway and they won’t even bother to hoot if you look like you meant it. 😉

  3. getting by says:

    Wish I had the answer, sadly I do not. I permanently yield to my right, and my left, and my front, and the rear too. Cos people drive like arseholes. I try to slow down into ALL intersections, not stop at green robots, but slow enough to check out for said arseholes who are exempt from following the law.

    I would rather sit and wait, and get hooted at and sworn at for holding people up than take what I deem to be a risk. I have kids in the car dammit!

    And those driving near me best know, if you hit my car while any or all of my kids are in there, you will get a wheel spanner violently placed in a part of your anatomy which would likely lead to surgical removal.

    Not that I advocate road rage or violence, seriously. But I have a baby on board sign in my back window and you can see the car chair, so don’t make me feel like you are something against which I need to protect my children.
    .-= getting by´s last blog ..Fill her up with faith please… =-.

  4. MeganTS says:

    fuck dude, i wish i knew. these bloody huge traffic circles with a million lanes have become my single biggest driving nightmare since moving up from durban.

    Luckily i still have durban plates, to the gauteng drivers just assume i can’t drive and therefore aren’t too surprised when i do things wrong!

  5. Glugster says:

    I have driven in Joburg, Cape Town and Durban within the last month. And I’m sorry to say this, but the Capetonians and the Durbanites are much worse at traffic circles than the Joburgers.

    The bottom line is that very few people in the whole of South Africa knows how to handle traffic circles.

  6. cassey says:

    I was taught yield to the right, and everyone I’ve been with in a car does that; then again I am from the Cape :0
    .-= cassey´s last blog ..Word Wednesday =-.

  7. Dawn says:

    Traffic circles are yield to the right.. ONLY.. however just remember that NOBODY else on the road knows how to drive and you should survive. 😉

  8. Angel says:

    I just wish they coulda left the lot of them as stop streets and not caused all the forking confusion in the first place!
    .-= Angel´s last blog ..Blogging My Blog- Cat @ Juggling Act Asked… =-.

  9. Po says:

    Also in the UK you need to be in the left lane for the first and second exits, and the right lane for all the others. I’m guessing that rule does not apply to Joburg either…
    .-= Po´s last blog ..Memory lane =-.

  10. A says:

    Hm, I thought the rule was yield to the right? Here’s arrive alive’s take on it: http://www.arrivealive.co.za/pages.aspx?i=2163

  11. Victoria says:

    I heard traffic circles were invented by a woman… Not sure how true that is, but it makes sense!!

  12. Fark – now that last photo confuses me. I think you should just go vandalise one of them tonight. Pick a sign, and destroy it.

    But on the whole – I yield to the right!
    .-= Lipglossninja´s last blog ..Dad- I’m having a boob job =-.

  13. Tamara says:

    Flip… my ultimate pet peeve. I was taught by my driving instructor to yield to the right (in Dbn). But now I ALWAYS stop, even if there’s nobody in sight, just to make sure I don’t get run over by a speeding BMW X5.

    @Po: No traffic rules apply in Jhb.

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