I thought I’d lost a wheel. The noise was ear-splitting and the feedback through the steering wheel severe enough to convince
me the right front was history.
Best-case scenario, I’d gashed a tyre and damaged the rim; worst case, the actual wheel had been ripped off. Given that my little hire car was still pointing in the same direction, it was obvious wheel and car were still attached, but it surely hadn’t escaped without scrapes.
The culprit? One of Gauteng’s numerous and cavernous potholes.
It had been a few months since I’d last driven in Joburg, but wow, the roads are looking a lot worse than I remember. I was genuinely shocked at the state they’re in. Granted, I was there at the end of February and the preceding two weeks of incessant Highveld rain had obviously made a bad situation even worse.
Those roads must drive you guys nuts. And it must be costing you money, too. Perhaps I was just lucky that my hire car escaped unscathed, but I have no doubt Gauteng drivers have to fork out more hard-earned cash on rim and tyre damage than the rest of us.
And then there are the traffic lights. A lot of them don’t work. The lights are off and no-one’s home. I’ll cut the authorities some slack, though – the rain and subsequent floods do not make for uniformly asphalted roads and a functioning electronic infrastructure. But, surely you have to factor in this potentiality and have a plan up your sleeve to counter it?
E-tolls have a role to play here, of course. With many motorists understandably choosing not to use the tolled highways, B-roads now have a far heavier traffic load and are suffering as a consequence. I spent three very frustrated days in the snarl-up that was Gauteng’s traffic and I extend my sympathies to all who have to deal with it. I could use a stronger descriptor, but let’s just call
it a mess.
To the Gauteng department of road and transport: let’s hear what you have to say on the matter.