Heels & Horsepower Magazine

Car Tip of the Week: Guide for crossing intersections safely during load-shedding

Load-shedding leaves many motorists frustrated and confused, and in this article we aim to provide tips to help maintain safety and sanity.

Load-shedding leaves many motorists frustrated and confused. No matter the time of day or night, load-shedding means more time spent in traffic, and the potential to be affected by another driver’s ill-thought-out actions. One place in particular where this occurs is at traffic lights.

In theory, every driver knows that an intersection that is normally managed by traffic lights becomes a four-way stop when the lights are out.  Many drivers, however, do not follow this rule, consequently, creating chaos at intersections. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you navigate junctures. Hopefully, these will help you safely make your way through.

  • Slow down as you approach the intersection – even if it looks as if there are no other vehicles around.
  • Bring your vehicle to a complete stop and yield to those who were at the intersection before you.
  • Expect traffic from more than four directions being:
  • Traffic travelling straight through the intersection from the traditional four directions.
  • Traffic turning left or right from their current lanes and across the intersection.
  • Do not assume that just because it is your turn to go, that every other driver will respect this. Double-check before you proceed.
  • If you do begin to enter the intersection but see another driver approaching or about to cross the intersection at the same time, rather give them the right of way instead of persisting on your course as this will either lead to a collision or at the very least, a road rage incident.
  • As annoying as it may be, rather allow a motorist that doesn’t obey intersection rules to proceed through an intersection, instead of engaging in a road rage incident. 
  • And don’t forget about pedestrians! They may have to cross intersections too.  They have as much right to do so as safely as any vehicle on the road. 
  • Watch out for drivers that skip the traffic by driving on the left shoulder or over yellow lines as they will eventually need to move back into the road

The most important tip: check, double-check and check again before you enter an intersection and even as you make your way across it. Load-shedding is creating many unnecessary challenges for drivers, but regardless of such, the unfortunate truth is that as long as there is load-shedding, all motorists need to be prepared to drive defensively.

7-Tips to lessen load-shedding driving woes

While loadshedding has been temporarily suspended, motorists can still expect it to make an unwelcome return in the near future.

If you still make your way to the office everyday or spend time on the roads throughout the day, this is what you can do to ensure you stay safe on the roads despite congestion and traffic lights that do not work.

  1. Keep an eye on loadshedding schedules and attempt to avoid areas experiencing outages during your travel times with the help of apps like Google Maps.
  2. Give yourself additional travel time so you avoid feeling pressurised while driving.
  3. Do not drive in the yellow lane while waiting in congestion at a traffic light. It worsens the traffic for other motorists, makes it more dangerous to re-enter traffic later on and may incite anger from other motorists.
  4.  While intersections should be treated as four-way stops, often this does not happen making it necessary that you double check every path that crosses yours before going. Rather take longer to cross than not make it across at all.
  5. If you find it difficult to remain calm in congestion find ways that can assist in relaxing you such as selecting relaxing music before you leave.
  6. Listen to points people directing traffic and give them the respect that they deserve for the help they provide. 
  7. If another driver is displaying reckless, selfish or any other questionable behaviour, rather ignore them and move out of their way than get upset or try to intervene.

Article courtesy of MasterDrive