I am gearing up for a week of seminars (through FTI http://goo.gl/jtu2K1
) and a keynote (at BASSA http://www.sbs.co.za/bassa2013/
) in South Africa the next several weeks.
To prepare me for my visit, Cecilia Pearce has kindly explained some of the rules of the road, and the related vocabulary, that apply in Johannesburg and Cape Town. I’ll report back on any discrepancies I run into. I hope not to run into anything else(!).
Steve Erlank of FTI and Cecilia both write they are ‘holding thumbs’ for me. Turns out that’s a good thing. ‘Holding thumbs’ is an idiom used to wish good luck, like crossing your fingers. Who knew?
Rules and Vocabulary
Acks: Cecilia Pearce
The show of a hand, similar to the royal wave, solves all indiscretions that may have occurred.
Behavioral Rule (with low enforcement level
): A red light, on a robot, does not necessarily mean a vehicle will stop.
A ‘robot’ is referred to as a traffic light in America.
‘Taxis’ seem to believe they own the road. They have the right of way and may stop at any time. They may decide to switch their hazards on as they stop … if
they work. Take care not to tailgate.
A ‘taxi’ is a cross between a cab and a bus, but a mini version. It transports about 18 passengers.
Definitional Rules for Taxis:
A ‘taxi’ is not easily identified by color or signage. A ‘taxi’ may be recognized by:
- being in very bad condition.
- usually being overloaded.
- using its hooter almost all the time.
A ‘hooter’ is known as a horn in America.
Motivation for Constant Use of Hooters:
To attract possible passengers.
A ‘hooter symphony’ occurs when there is a traffic jam. Note: Do not expect any resolution of the traffic problem from a ‘hooter symphony’. You’ll be disappointed.
Behavioral Rules for the ‘Taxi’ System:
Should you see somebody standing on the side of the road making weird hand signals, chances are that the signals are not intended for you. This is the mechanism used by prospective passengers to inform an approaching taxi of their destination.
In South Africa the taxi driver is not provided with your destination; instead a taxi driver goes to specific destinations. Taxis have designated routes but not designated dropping-off areas.
Major Behavioral Rule:
And do remember, we drive on the left hand side of the road(!).