DOs and DONT’s in Joburg Traffic

DO beware of potholes; they’re everywhere, and they’re deep. And new tires, if you’ll remember, are expensive!

DON’T be afraid of the street vendors; they often have something useful to sell – even if it’s just entertainment – and I’ve never had any bad experiences.

traffic scene in johannesburg South Africa

DO stop at a light (robot) that’s not working, as in that case it reverts to a four-way stop. However, I’ve lately struggled with the robot coming onto William Nicol from Dainfern, which is HALF-working. It is either green or out, making this very hazardous if you assume it’s your turn after stopping briefly, but it’s actually green for the other side. If you think this would get fixed after a day or two, you are mistaken. It’s been like this for weeks, but maybe no one has actually reported it because you don’t want to waste your time with another government agency.

Robot/traffic light on “green” CROSSING William Nicol
Same robot on “out” while “green” for traffic ON William Nicol

DON’T get distracted by the sights you see, wondering whether the guy or the stuff will fall off first.

traffic scene in johannesburg South Africa

traffic scene in johannesburg South Africa

DON’T follow a Toyota minibus taxi too closely; they’re prone to brake and pull over very suddenly.

DON’T get annoyed by those same minibus taxis overtaking you off the road on your left; that’s just the way it is.

DON’T bribe the cops but rather insist on a regular ticket; you’ll almost always get off, in fact, you probably didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. See Have You Brought Anything for us Today.

DO purchase a car with smash-and-grab protection or retrofit it afterwards.

street after smash and grab in johannesburg

DON’T drive up closely to the car in front of you at a robot at night; you want to leave enough space as to not be blocked in. I’ve never had a any problems with this but you do hear stories. Telltale signs of smash-and-grab danger spots are bricks and/or shattered glass laying around, and I’ve also seen signs for “hijacking hotspot” on the way to Hartebeespoort Dam.
DO watch for the blinking green arrow on a right turn; it is easy to miss and then you’ll have some angry people behind you.
DO keep 2-Rand coins in your car to tip parking attendants; they’re at every shopping center and even though they’ll likely wave from behind your car where you can’t see them to “help” you get out of a parking space, they’ll be very grateful for your money. They’re also supposed to guard your car and will help you load your groceries in your trunk (boot).
For more on traffic in Johannesburg, click here.

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