how to kill a traf­fic cone

Leisure Wheels (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - danie@leisurewheels.com

The other day we were stuck be­hind a slow-mov­ing ve­hi­cle, on a sin­gle lane car­riage­way, for quite a way. A line of around 20 ve­hi­cles am­bled along at 40km/h be­hind this poor bug­ger, whose car was clearly ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some me­chan­i­cal is­sues.

As cars man­aged to over­take this ve­hi­cle, we fi­nally landed up be­hind him, too. A gap opened up, and off we went, over­tak­ing him. But our ini­tial thoughts of ‘ag shame...’ turned into a ‘what the bloody hell!’ The driver was watch­ing a video on his phone. That’s why he was go­ing so slowly!

Look, the days when we had to worry about mo­torists speak­ing on their phones while driv­ing are long done. Now that of­fense ac­tu­ally seems palat­able.

Tex­ting while driv­ing and our mor­bid fas­ci­na­tion with so­cial me­dia has added a whole new di­men­sion to the mo­bile phone in the car phe­nom­e­non.

In the big cities, you only need to peek around at other mo­torists to ex­pe­ri­ence it first-hand. Mo­torists so en­grossed by a Face­book post that they don’t re­alise the traf­fic light has turned green. Then you, stuck be­hind this nin­com­poop, po­litely hoot to make the dis­tracted mo­torist aware that he or she could have taken off 30 sec­onds ago – only for the of­fended mo­torist to of­fer a mid­dle fin­ger, be­cause you so rudely in­ter­rupted his read­ing of a post about his aunt’s friend’s new perm.

This is not the first time we raise this point though. But in­stead of just stand­ing on our pedestal and shout­ing foul, we’ve de­cided to do some­thing more con­crete. Some­thing to demon­strate how the sim­ple act of tex­ting can af­fect your driv­ing, and po­ten­tially have a huge af­fect on the peo­ple who share the road with you.

We’ve part­nered up with Suzuki Auto SA, which sup­plied a Vi­tara 1.6. We rented a very slip­pery skid­pan. We asked a driv­ing ex­pert to set up a chal­leng­ing gymkhana course. And then we asked some fa­mous and Joe Soap driv­ers to com­plete the gymkhana... first as fast as pos­si­ble, se­condly, as fast as pos­si­ble while tex­ting a mes­sage.

We also filmed this ex­er­cise, and we’ll be shar­ing some videos on our and our part­ners’ so­cial me­dia plat­forms, demon­strat­ing the ef­fects of tex­ting while driv­ing. Suf­fice to say, the test did not work out so well for a num­ber of traf­fic cones af­ter be­ing run over by a Suzuki.

Head over to leisurewheels.co.za for more in­for­ma­tion.

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