Those people who know me fairly well will appreciate that my favourite times of day are my morning and evening drives to and from work. Clogged traffic and only being able to move forwards at a speed of 20km/h or less are accepted demons in peak hour and I counter them by playing my favourite music on the CD player and bopping (or, if I’m in a particularly classical mood, conducting) along. Admittedly though, I leave very early in the morning and as a result I don’t usually hit traffic then. Just in the afternoons. As a result, I arrive at home or at work relaxed and happy, which has been known to upset the people I work and/or live with.
Yesterday morning, however, was different. Yesterday morning I got completely and utterly freaked out by the apparent inability of some people to drive safely and I’m still shivering a little from the memory of the shock.
The first part of my drive, up until a specific point on Hendrik Verwoerd Road, was the same as always. I had Matchbox 20’s “When You’re Gone” playing full blast and I was singing along, badly as always, when it happened. There were three busses in the right hand lane, and I was coming up the road at a good 70km/h when one bus decided to pull out and overtake the other bus. No indication, no warning, no checking to see if there was oncoming traffic… nothing.
I slammed on brakes, and squeezed my eyes shut and hoped and prayed like mad that I would be able to stop without spinning, without over-turning my car and without hitting anything. I opened my eyes and thanked my lucky stars that I hadn’t hit anything. There was a space of about 2cm between my front bumper and the bus. As I started my car moving forward again, I couldn’t help but wonder how on earth I had managed to stop. The tread on my tyres is dangerously low, so low in fact that one of my to do’s this month is to get my tyres replaced. I took a deep breath, turned up the music, and went on my way again.
When I got to the turn I take into John Vorster, I had my second scare in under 10 minutes. I was in the outside turning lane, a taxi next to me in the inside turning lane and… you guessed it… the taxi turned too wide nearly forcing me off the road. It’s probably a good thing that I’m not a permanently paranoid person, or I may have thought that someone was trying to ‘do me in.’
I managed to continue to the N1 in relative peace and quiet and was well on my to work when the last attempt on my life occurred. I was travelling a good 120km/h just after Rigel, in the right hand middle lane and still singing along to whichever track was playing next. (I’m afraid I was still a little shaken, so I can’t actually remember, although I suspect it was Fine Young Cannibals ‘She Drives Me Crazy’) I happened to be checking blinds because I wanted to move over a lane when I realized that the guy next to me, in a 1200 Datsun Bakkie was trying to get into my lane… but he obviously hadn’t seen me. Not only that, he was travelling at about 60km/h. Now I’m sorry. I’m a patient person, really I am. But if you’re driving that slowly in a 120km/h zone, you should be in the slow lane. You really should. Unless you’re trying to overtake something moving slower than you, then I can understand it. But to move over to the right hand middle lane… Uh uh.
Thank the heavens there was nothing in the fast lane so that I could duck in there. But still. I arrived at work shaken and a little worried that the greater cosmos was trying to kill me.
At least my day improved afterwards.