Busting 5 common misconceptions about South Africa’s road rules

Kloof Nek road with Table Mountain in the background.


Even though many of us spend a great deal of time in our cars, there are a lot of misconceptions about the rules of our roads. Hippo.co.za takes a look at five of these to help clear up some of the confusion.


Gated roads


Residential estates that occupy a large section of land are becoming more and more common in South Africa. Due to the security and strict access control of these estates, it's easy to think the roads within are private, but this isn't so.


According to the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 (NRTA), these roads are still public roads and are regulated the same way other public roads are. Homeowners' associations may put certain rules and regulations in place to manage safety and security, but ultimately, these rules cannot supersede the laws of the NRTA. Here's an example: if an estate wants to put up speed limit signs, they need to be strictly in accordance with the rules of the NRTA; they should not for example, be triangular when the speed limit regulatory sign is round.


Smoking in the car


Legally, you are not allowed to smoke in the car while travelling with a child under the age of 12. Proposed tobacco laws may be even stricter; smoking in the car while travelling with persons younger than 18, or when travelling with more than one person in the vehicle, may soon be illegal.


Warning other motorists of a roadblock or speed trap


Flashing your lights to oncoming traffic to signal that there is a roadblock ahead is illegal because this is considered to be defeating the ends of justice.


Unlawful towing


Not just anyone may tow a caravan. If you have a standard code-B driver's licence, the heaviest vehicles you're allowed to tow are trailers lighter than 750 kg. So, if your mom's car breaks down or your son has run out of petrol, legally you're not allowed to tow them with your car if you only have a standard driver's licence. Luckily, most car insurance companies offer roadside assistance standard with their vehicle insurance.


Driving barefoot, in flip-flops, or heels


There is no law against driving barefoot, in flip-flops, or in high heels. It is wise to wear footwear that won't stop you from having complete control over the vehicle. This can look different for different people, and your comfort and ease of use in your shoes of choice can play a big role. We suggest footwear that allows you to feel the pressure of the pedals so you don't accidentally press on two pedals at once, and footwear that isn't loose or slippery (so that it can't slide off the pedal or get caught under a pedal).


Now that you know how to protect yourself by staying on the right side of the law, it's time to give your car the best protection too – with comprehensive car cover. Get multiple vehicle insurance quotes using our online car insurance comparison tool to look at a range of premiums and benefits. It takes just a few minutes, is completely obligation-free, and you could save money. Before you commit, hippo it.


Sources: AA; Business Tech;


Prices quoted are correct at the time of publishing this article. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.

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