Getting your drivers licence is an exciting feat but it does not go hand-in-hand with knowing the rules and laws of South Africa’s roads. Here are 5 very important rules you may have forgotten.
No smoking with children
It may not be illegal to smoke in your car when you’re on your own but it is illegal to smoke in your car with a child present.
Section 2(1)(a)(iii) of the Tobacco Products Control Act, 1993 states that “No person may smoke any tobacco product in any motor vehicle when a child under the age of 12 years is present in that vehicle”.
If you’re caught, be prepared to pay a fine of around R500, even if the child is yours.
How to yield at a roundabout
Most of us remember “yield to the right” when it comes to big roundabouts, but did you know there’s a difference between a roundabout and a mini traffic circle?
In a roundabout you do yield to traffic coming from the right-hand side that’s already in the roundabout. With a mini traffic circle, the driver who crosses the yield line first has right of way and all other drivers must yield to them.
Using fog lamps
Being momentarily blinded by an oncoming driver’s brights is incredibly frustrating, and it’s also illegal. You are not allowed to use your fog lights in clear conditions, to avoid frustrating or hurting those in oncoming traffic.
No phones, ever
Talking on your phone has been illegal for a while. But many of us still pick up our phones at traffic lights to reply to messages or text and drive.
Officially the rules regarding cellphones are:
- No driver is allowed to use a hand-held cell phone while driving.
- A cell phone may not be used at traffic lights when the car is not moving.
- A cell phone may not be used whilst the engine of a vehicle is running. Even if the vehicle is stationary but the engine is still running, you may not use your cell phone.
- A cell phone may not be used for taking photos or browsing the Internet while driving.
- In terms of the Western Cape bylaws, your cell phone will be confiscated for 24 hours if you happen to be caught using your cell phone while driving.
Last minute dash
That race towards a yellow light to try and avoid having to be the first to wait when it goes red is common across the country, but incredibly dangerous. While you may feel like crossing the line before it goes red means you can argue your way out of being accused of running a red, you increase your chance of colliding with another car when you do this.