OPINION | Refrain from taking pictures of baboons when you're out on the road under Level 3

Lockdown level 3 will allow for greater freedom of movement

Some road users will (probably) have forgotten how to drive

Don't stop in the middle of the road when you see a baboon

Oh, how great it is to have some measure of freedom again! Lockdown level 3 is here, and we can relax the rules and regulations around being locked in - even if just slightly.

While Level 3 still does not allow for complete freedom of movement, it's encouraging, nonetheless, to know that we can breathe fresh air other than that in your garden on an early morning.

This past weekend, I grabbed my permit and set about taking a short drive with one of the vehicles we have on test. It wasn't a long drive, just enough to get a feel for the vehicle's handling, ride quality, and comfort from behind the steering wheel. And, since Clarence Drive is a stone's throw away, and one I had assumed would be quiet, it was the closet road to grab some footage.

Should be easy enough, right? Drive the few kilometres to Rooi Els, and come back again. Don't get out of the vehicle, don't interact, and, importantly, stay safe.


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What on earth?!

It was late afternoon on a Sunday when I undertook my brief journey. Heading out the road was clear, but there was considerable traffic in the opposite direction.

It's peaceful driving along the ocean. To your left, you have the mountain curtailing upward. And to your right, the sea lays silent as schools of fish form black masses on the water.

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Clarence Drive is known for its baboons, and I slow down when I spot the first few. The Audi R8 in front of me is also not in a hurry, and he, too, decreases his speed. There are about two car lengths between us as we prod along at around 70km/h. As we - the R8 and I - make our way around a bend, the R8 suddenly slams on its brakes!

A BMW driver and her passenger stopped in the middle of a bend to take pictures of baboons! Three cars, including the R8 and I, came around the corner, avoiding a massive collision by mere meters! Luckily, oncoming drivers saw the potential wreckage that was about to happen and applied brakes to leave us enough room for evasive action.

Have we lost it?!

And that got me thinking: have we lost the ability to drive whilst under Levels 5 and 4? Have we forgotten how beautiful nature is that we disregard the basic safety rules of the road?

While some medical experts say that we should walk around without masks to build up resistance, and a stronger immune system, I think we should have let people drive and have them 'stay in practice' with regards to road safety.

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I know that most drivers will be safe when taking to the road under lockdown Level 3, but it is unfair of others not to adhere to the rules of the road. If you are going to make use of the freedom of movement Level 3 gives us - which really only includes travelling to work or schools - consider all road users. And importantly, don't let the excitement of seeing something special cloud your judgement when behind the steering wheel.

We all have a role to play, no matter which road you'll be driving on.