Road safety tips for the festive season

Festive Season: Road safety tips

South Africa's roads will be busier than usual during the festive season. Here are ways to ensure you arrive alive. 

Traffic / iStock

Every year, thousands of people die on the South African roads.  Last year, more than 1400 people died during the festive season alone.

To minimise the risk of becoming a victim, it is important to take the necessary precautions before you hit the road. 

'Check coolant, fluids and oil levels. Check that the spare wheel is in good condition and properly inflated. Make sure that you have a serviceable jack and wheel brace. Ensure any luggage or cargo is put in the boot or secured in the vehicle,' states Arrive Alive. 

It is also important to check your car's roadworthiness by examining the headlights, indicators, stop lights, tail-lights, windscreen wiper blades, mirrors, brakes, steering, tyres, tyre pressure, exhaust system, and possible oil or fuel leaks. 

READ: Traffic volume expected to increase ahead of festive

As part of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 campaign, the SA government announced that it is targeting  four key areas:

  • Fatigue or driver fitness.
  • Drinking and driving.
  • Use of seat belts. 
  • Pedestrian safety.

Before hitting the road, ensure that you are well rested, and if you are going to be traveling long distances, take breaks along the road and rest. Fatigue can result in reduced attention, awareness, and ability to control the vehicles. Some drivers could also fall asleep behind the wheel. So, rest is important. 

Drinking and driving is one of the biggest causes of road accidents. 

Research indicates that 50% of people who die on the roads have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres, states Arrive Alive. So, don't drink and drive. 

Arrive Alive also states that "just 2% of passengers buckle up". 

"Our message to buckle up must continue to resonate with motorists as a life-saving mechanism. We have seen unbuckled children and adults alike being [flung] out of cars, resulting in serious injuries and deaths that could have been prevented," politician Fikile Mbalula said in January.

Pedestrians must obey the rules of the road. Sadly, according to Arrive Alive, 33 percent of people who die on roads are passengers.

As a pedestrian, walk where you can be seen and if you are walking at night, wear reflective clothing or bright colours and carry a flashlight in places that have no streetlights. Pedestrians are also advised to walk on sidewalks and crosswalks. 

Don't just cross anyway, rather use the intersections where motorists can see you. Also, stay out of the driver's blind spot.

Remember speed kills. Do not go over the speed limit. It's harder to control a vehicle at higher speeds and this increases the likelihood of a crash.  

Also, when a car is speeding and hits a pedestrian, the impact will also be much greater and chances of injury or even death will be increased.

READ: Speeding major concern for traffic officials

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