Driving you mad?


The rise in the price of petrol, the etolling, the pot holes…  It’s tough being a driver in South Africa these days.

There was once a motorist who envied pedestrians as he drove past them. That was because his was an old, fourth or fifth-hand vehicle (all he could afford at the time), prone to frequent breakdowns.

You may be driving a perfectly good second-hand car, or even a new one. Even so, the dark clouds that have gathered over the heads of South African motorists are probably enough to send you driving mad.

Worst news first.

From today, the price of petrol is going up by 71 cents in Gauteng (66 cents in coastal areas). Alas, that makes us feel nostalgic for the good old days of October 2011, when petrol pumps started displaying prices of above R10 / litre for the first time in the history of SA motoring…

And in less than thirty days Gauteng drivers will have the dubious privilege of driving under the dreaded etoll gates whenever they dip their toes (pardon, wheels) onto one of the highways that transverse the province. It is estimated that the privilege will cost an average private user of highways R300-R350 a month.

Gauteng motorists are protesting, loudly too. That may not save them from paying up, but it may have had a positive effect elsewhere: the media recently reported that Cape Town has shelved its own, similar etoll plans.

As an aside, have you noticed that roadside hawkers are now waving some red things at you as you wait at a robot? That’s because traffic officers have started checking boots and are fining R500 everyone who does not have a red triangle there.

So, if you find yourself envying pedestrians while you drive through back streets, carefully avoiding ever-bigger pot holes and trying to remember when was the last time you saw a red triangle in your boot, you may be tempted to sell your car and acquire a bike. Or a bicycle.

On the other hand, if you are like most of us and can’t do without a car (due to under-developed calf muscles, or perhaps to the lack of public transport), you might be thinking right now about upgrading your vehicle to something decently second-hand that’s easy on petrol.

In either case, the bidorbuy car section will welcome you.

Before you proceed, we suggest that you read up on some basic safety tips governing online (and offline) private car sales, whether you happen to be a buyer or a seller.