The Median Strip is also known as a Central Reservation Area or Road Island…. the strip that separates two opposing lanes of traffic. The strip itself varies from road to road. It can be a walkable wide pavement, painted lines, a wider planted area, or a concrete or metal barrier. (see more photo examples at the end of the article)
Drivers should expect to find stationary vehicles in their lane of travelling where a Median Strip is found.
GRIFFITHS vs NETHERLANDS INSURANCE 1967 (4) SA 691 (A)
X stopped at stop street. X wanted to cross dual carriageway and crossed between opening on an island to turn right. The dual carriageway is a main road in a built-up area and carries heavy traffic. The accident occurred at night, but the road is well lit. X looked towards his left and right and noticed that the road is clear of traffic and pulls away. He realised that vehicles are approaching him from his left hand side at high speed. He realised that he was not going to complete his turn and stopped his vehicle in the island opening. The back of his vehicle blocked the whole lane nearest to the island. He noticed motor vehicles approaching him and noticed that Y is fast approaching him in the lane that is blocked by the back of his vehicle. He however kept concentrating on the traffic that approached him in the direction that he wanted to turn in. He therefore paid attention to the vehicles approaching him from his left. Y then collided with the right back door of his vehicle. Y never saw X. He did not brake or swerve out. Y cannot remember how the accident occurred.
Decision on appeal:
Upheld the Court’s decision that X was not negligent. The minority ruling believed that Y’s appeal must succeed with an apportionment of 75/25 in favor of X.
There is no rule that forbids X from crossing the first two lanes of a road at a given time and to wait in the opening for an opportunity to join other traffic in the next lane. Because of heavy traffic, it necessitated him to wait for an opportunity. Daylight would not have made a difference. X will still not be negligent. X was visible for Y for at least 60 steps.
The Court decided that drivers at night should expect that sometimes there can be stationary vehicles in their lane of travel. Y would have been able to avoid the collision if he saw X by swerving to the left and passing behind the vehicle. Y was in all probabilities grossly negligent. It was not expected from X to expect the possibility that Y could collide with him.
Other photos of what Median Strips / Central Reservation Area / Road Island: