According to Eyewitness News, 1714 people died on the SA roads over the last festive season. This was a 5% increase on the previous period. 432 roadblocks were conducted and 453, 263 fines were issued during the festive season but, unfortunately, the death toll was not lowered.
The great number of accidents and deaths on the roads is costing South Africa billions and bringing a lot of heartache to the friends and families of those involved in the fatalities. No matter how many campaigns and other initiatives are set in place to warn drivers to drive safely, majority of road deaths are still caused by reckless driving, including driving under the influence of alcohol, impatient drivers, speeding trucks and simply, thoughtless drivers who have no regard for road rules, officials and other cars on the road.
As we’re approaching the new festive season, drivers are urged to be more cautious on the roads by:
Putting down their mobile phones
According to Car Insurance, 41% of South Africans are guilty of using their phones for texting and scrolling through social media while driving. Using a mobile phone while driving can result in slow reaction time, the inability to stick to the speed limit, the inability to pay attention to other drivers, the inability to stay in one lane and tailgating.
Paying attention to the road
While driving, your attention needs to be on the roads and your surroundings. Don’t attempt to eat, drink or do other distracting things, like put on makeup or dig in your handbag, while you’re driving. Pay full attention to the road.
Obeying the rules of the road
If vehicles aren’t operated properly, they can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, all South Africans have to pass a driver’s test before they’re allowed on the roads. Unfortunately, most drivers still don’t follow traffic signs, stick to speed limits and follow other important traffic signals that are put in place to make our roads safer.
Many fatal accidents are caused by drinking and driving. Don’t drink if you know you have to drive or get a sober person to drive your car if you’ve had alcohol. Alternatively, you can get an Uber driver to take you from A to B if you need a lift while you’re under the influence of alcohol.
Driving vehicles fit for the road
Unroadworthy vehicles or illegally loaded vehicles can cause accidents. For most vehicles on the road, roadworthy testing and certification are only required if you want to change ownership of a car. However, vehicles used for business purposes, such as heavy goods vehicles and taxis should be tested regularly. Because many vehicles aren’t required to be tested, this has led to many unroadworthy vehicles being driven on the road. All cars should be serviced and maintained effectively. Heavy vehicles should abide by the rules when transporting goods; they should be properly weighed by axle weighbridges.
Being considerate when there’s an accident
There’s nothing more disheartening than seeing rushed drivers driving in the emergency lane while in traffic because of an accident. Precious time is lost for the emergency response vehicles trying to get to the scene of the accident – all because drivers are too impatient to wait in the traffic with the rest of us… It goes to show how selfish some drivers are.
We urge all South Africans to be careful on the road this festive season. Happy holidays!