Ride On With Dumi Xaba

By Dumi Xaba

As South Africans, we come from different backgrounds, yet we all agree on one thing: VW Polo drivers are the crappiest drivers on our roads, followed by those who drive Toyota Hiluxes and Toyota Quantums.

A study conducted from 1 October 2017 to June 2021by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), called South African Fatal Crashes in Context, uncovered that VW Polo cars were involved in road accidents more than any vehicle brand in South Africa. The RTMC study also revealed that drivers of this very popular brand accounted for an astronomical number of speed transgression fines issued.

The top 20 cars involved in road accidents, VW Polo, Toyota Hilux, and Toyota Quantum accounted for 43.2% of deadly crashes. It said: “A total of 48 330 vehicles were involved in 37 583 fatal crashes with 45 232 deaths during the period.”

The data gathered during the aforementioned period further reveals that Polo cars contributed to 16.7% of all fatal crashes on South African roads.

The Hilux came at number two second on 14.2%, slightly ahead of the Quantum, which is on 12.2%. These three vehicles are the most popular in our country, are leaders in the number of speed infringements.
All said and done the study, has confirmed what we have always suspected; Polo drivers can be daredevils.

Hilux accidents boggle the mind as most owners of this brand seem to be of mature age.
Naturally, those fingered have dismissed the findings as untrue.
The total number of Polo cars is 795,613, which accounts for 17% of all vehicles on our roads.

What could be the real cause of this carnage on our roads? Personally, I thought it might be the fact that most of these drivers are novices. But the study shows that most of them have been driving for around 5 to 10 years, which makes them highly competent drivers.

I must admit, I have driven almost all Polo generations. These are highly capable machines. They are well-built and tolerant of most road conditions. You can easily out-manoeuvre any potential road hazard with this vehicle better than most brands, including Corolla, yet they account for most fatal crashes.

The next logical thing is to suspect vehicle population in correlation to the crushes. This theory also didn’t hold water as the Opel Corsa totals 243,973, which is 5,3% of all vehicles on our roads. Ford Fiesta accounts for 129,293 vehicles on our roads, which is 2,8% of the total number of our vehicles, yet they account for only 17% of all fatal crushes.

Corsa drivers are in the same age group as Polo’s, yet they only account for 2,1% of all accidents. The Volvo, known as the safest vehicle on the road, doesn’t even feature in these stats.

The next suspect should be the Polo’s built quality and safety aspects. But, close to 796,000 drivers all agree that this is one of the safest vehicles on our roads. It is the most sophisticated piece of engineering that turns a novice into a pro in a matter of hours.

Hence most Polo drivers only crash between five and 10 years after their purchase of the new vehicle. This is mind-boggling. Almost all accidents involving Polos were as a result of human error. Only a few were as a result of road surface or weather conditions. Another conundrum.

One thing that all of us agree on is that the VW Polo is a feisty pony to ever come out of Wolfsburg. It is reliable and dependable but you still stand a good chance to meet your maker in your youthful years, if you are a Polo driver than any other model.

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