Traffic Woes

We kind of joke about taking our lives in our hands when we step out onto the highways and bi-ways in South Africa, but a recent road trip shocked me beyond what I have ever joked about!!

All of these events happened on one road trip….

We left the house headed to a game reserve for a quick 2 day break.  Approximately 15 minutes down the road, we realized the binoculars were still sitting in my closet.  ooops.  So we turned around and went back to get them.  Back on track about 30 minutes later, we were speeding down the N2 (highway) at 120 km/hr.  I saw a police car on the very narrow shoulder between us and the barricade between oncoming traffic.  Then I noticed he was out walking back to a vehicle with 2 other people.  I try not to “rubberneck” but I am the curious sort.  So I turned around to see more… as I did, a gasp escaped my lips.  Carl immediately responded with “what?  Is everything okay?”   There was a white car with the hood and front end horribly damaged – and in front of the police car was a man on the ground.  The way he was lying, I could tell he was dead.  He had a huge wound on his back with the skin peeled back and flesh and bone prominent.  There was no other car on the side of the road, so evidently the white car had struck this man as he was crossing the highway.  It appeared to have happened within the past 20 minutes or so….  which makes me very grateful that we forgot those binoculars.  I do believe we were protected from being involved in this accident.  My heart is very sad for this man who lost his life, and I don’t think my poor heart could have handled it if it had been us who had struck him.  Unfortunately it is not uncommon to have people crossing the highway as pedestrians, and I have heard stories of others hitting people crossing the N2, but had never seen it myself.   I couldn’t believe a human body could do as much damage to a car as I had seen on that white car.  It looked like a cow or deer had hit the car, but at 120km/hour, I guess a human is just as damaging as a deer.  I am still haunted by the memory of that man laying on the ground on the side of the road.  I have hit a couple of dogs before, and actually killed one of them…. and it took me awhile to get over that one.  I cannot imagine the feeling of hitting a human.  Anyway, enough of that story.

We continue along our way.  I was shaken a bit, so was quiet and contemplative.  Praying for the man’s family, those who loved him, and those who would be left behind.  It was not even 20 minutes later when we pulled up beside some South African taxis in a 3 lane part of the highway.  A South African taxi is actually a mini-bus.  They are usually white and hold about 15 passengers.  In the two lanes next to us, there were two taxis….  I casually looked over as we drove next to them, and again gasped.   The windows were down on the two taxis and they were passing something between them… one person was leaning out of his taxi and handing something to the man hanging out of the other one!   “You have got to be kidding me,” was the thought that was racing through my head!  And we were all going about 120 km/hr!   I wanted to shake my finger at them and say “shame on you” for taking the lives of your passengers so lightly, but I thought that was a bit too grandmotherly! :-)  I was appalled though!  Especially after what I had just seen!

We got a few hours up the coast before the next surprising incident.  We came upon this truck – the picture will speak for itself.  Thankfully it was parked on the side of the road.  We didn’t see anyone around it, so not sure what the story was, but it does appear that the furniture had started shifting to one side.  Definitely a cheaper method of moving than hiring a moving company, but not sure this would pass a safety code – ANYWHERE on earth! ;-)

Moving day?

We actually turned around and came back to snap this picture!


On our return trip, things were moderately better.  We only had two close calls!  :-)  The first was a semi truck that was passing 3 other semis – up a hill!!  And before he had gotten around the last semi, up popped an on-coming semi!  I wanted to scream, but my mouth went dry and nothing came out.  Thankfully, there was enough of a shoulder that the last semi pulled as far as he could into it and the 3 semis all passed safely on a two-lane highway.  Things could have gone very badly as it would have included 4 semi-trucks and us had anyone collided.  Thank you Jesus!

And last but not least, a car from on-coming traffic pulled in front of our two lanes of traffic to exit off of our exit ramp.  Seriously?

I think I am more aware of the dangers on our South African highways because of a recent occurrence about half an hour from where we live.  You can watch that here.  Scary stuff.  With investigations, it was found out that the driver of the truck did not have a valid driver’s license.  It is common in SA for bribes to earn you a driver’s licenses.  I am not sure if that is why there seem to be more unsafe things happening on the roads here….  But whenever I head out on the highways, I am prepared to drive defensively!!!

8 Responses to Traffic Woes
  1. Connie van Niekerk Reply

    Interesting reading material. Moral of the story “aways pray before driving anywhere”

    • Michelle Reply

      Amen and amen!

  2. Natalie Dawes Reply

    Having had a taste of South African highways, I can believe all of these stories! SO glad you guys are okay. Thank you, Jesus, indeed!

  3. Eleanor Reply

    Hahaha!! Oh wow! This was a real good read. Enjoying reading your blog michelle! Always so interesting.
    Sending you love in toti. Hope to visit Oasis soon again!


    • Michelle Reply

      Looking forward to your next visit!!! Sending love up to you in Hillcrest too!! And glad you like my blog! Thanks dear girl!

  4. Ruth Reply

    Fascinating. Glad God covered you all again. Traffic is crazy here too, but in very different ways. I’ll have to blog about it sometime! : )

    • Michelle Reply

      I am sure your traffic woes are much different… would love to read about them! :-) Do you have any big highways around you or are they more small roads?

  5. Grandma Reply

    So glad that you were all safe!

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