By James Gratton
Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020
They’re the road rules that are drilled into us when we learn to drive, but it seems many motorists need a quick refresher.
More than 14,000 people recently took RAA’s online quiz, with many failing to correctly answer questions involving traffic lights, give-way signs and school zones.
When asked what to do when approaching a give-way sign, 47% of participants said you must always stop, while 5% said you must slow down.
Only 48% selected the correct answer: you must slow down or stop when necessary to give way to other vehicles.
Almost half of the SA drivers quizzed in the RAA test said you must stop at a give-way sign. Image: Getty
Motorists also struggled when it came to U-turns, with almost half of respondents believing U-turns are permitted at traffic lights with green right-hand turn arrows.
It’s illegal in SA to perform a U-turn at an intersection with traffic lights, unless there’s a sign saying it’s permitted.
“Road rules change over time and it’s important we keep [our knowledge] up-to-date,’’ said Charles Mountain, RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure.
“Rules can also be forgotten, or we can pick up bad habits, so it’s important all road users know what the rules are. This way, they’ll avoid potentially causing confusion, traffic congestion, conflict or collisions.”
Results from the quiz show a majority of drivers failed to correctly answer the following questions:
- When do you have to give way to pedestrians at children’s (emu) crossings? (Correct 42%, incorrect 58%)
- What must you do when travelling towards an intersection where the traffic lights are flashing yellow? (Correct 49%, incorrect 51%)
- When are you allowed to overtake another vehicle on its left-hand side on a road, not marked with lanes? (Correct 43%, incorrect 57%)
- Is a qualified supervisor driver who is instructing a learner driver allowed to have alcohol in their blood? (Correct 42%, incorrect 58%)
- When following a vehicle travelling at 60km/h, what is considered to be the minimum safe following distance in dry road conditions? (Correct 42%, incorrect 58%)
Mr Mountain said obeying the rules was as important as knowing them, given almost 7500 drivers were fined for illegal use of a mobile phone and another 2526 were caught not wearing a seatbelt last year.
“All road users need to take responsibility to reduce road trauma,” he said.
On a more positive note, when asked if you’re allowed to use a handheld phone behind the wheel, around 98% of participants answered correctly that it is illegal.
Similarly, 97% of respondents knew that drivers and their passengers must always wear a properly fitted seatbelt.