Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oct 3: Reckless Driving

Tuesday I was wading through particularly heavy Lilongwe traffic after picking the kids up from school.  I was almost out of the city, ready to breathe a sigh of relief and start dodging goats and bicycles instead of minibuses and hordes of pedestrians, when it happened.  A traffic cop shook his finger at me and waved me over.  I had no idea what the problem was, but he said I had changed lanes too quickly, and that this type of thing can cause accidents and therefore he must fine me 5000 kwacha for reckless driving.  He was very polite about the whole thing and said I should view it as a learning experience, not as a punishment.  However, I'm not sure what I'm actually supposed to learn: that they were short of business that day and needed to hand out a few more tickets??  There are no lanes marked there at all, either with signs or road markings.  Traffic trying to go right usually creates an informal turning lane, which I did not want to be in, but I think it's pretty far-fetched to say that my procedure to stay out of that queue was anywhere near reckless.  Given the quantity of foot traffic on the side of the road in that spot, I'd say it's pretty reckless to stay too far left!  But anyway I had to turn around (a challenge in and of itself), go back through the worst of the traffic to the police office, pay the fine, and wade through the mess all over again.  The worst of it was coming home to tell Eric...and discovering that that was the very same intersection where he DROVE THROUGH A RED LIGHT ON PURPOSE AND WAS SEEN AND SCOLDED BY A TRAFFIC COP but came away with NO TICKET AT ALL!!!!!  (Remember the Aug 20 post?)  Not that I'm annoyed or anything, of course...

And wouldn't you know it, take a look at the "Motoring Matters" column in the newspaper I bought the very next day:


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