Jaywalking: the act of crossing a road or street unlawfully or without regard for approaching traffic.
We all know that jaywalking is illegal and dangerous. Yet many of us continue to do so (some unknowingly, even) on a daily basis.
But I should be in no position to complain because, as a teenager, I was among the many that raced across roads without flinching. The zebra crossing was a conundrum to me: “Is it worth that extra two minutes?” I would ask myself before sprinting from one corner of the highway to the next.
Of course, those days are long gone now. Today, I drive. And you know what? It has completely changed my perception on jaywalking.
Last week, when driving back home after work, I came face-to-face with a group of jaywalkers. A harmless encounter? Well, no!
I was doing 120-odd kph (well within the legal limit) when the four young men jumped onto the otherwise empty highway and started sprinting to the other side (FYI: that’s three gigantic lanes).
Thanks to the amber lighting on the road I couldn’t spot them until the very end, when they were almost face-to-face with me… and imminent death. But thankfully, my car’s brakes were strong enough to bring the car to a complete halt.
Unsurprisingly, the guys couldn’t comprehend the seriousness of what had just happened and simply continued on their merry way.
I, however, still feel queasy when I think about the incident. Lots of questions come to mind: what if I had crashed into them? What if there had been cars behind me? What if they had died because of me?
All those questions give me the chills. So I have just one thing to say: if you care for your life and for the lives of others, do the nation a favour and use that zebra crossing.
It really is worth all that extra time.