Statistics indicate that at least 40 people die daily in South Africa due to road crashes. The high number of crashes can be attributed to various crimes and road traffic offences.
These crimes include: excessive speed, unsafe overtaking, driving under the influence of alcohol and unsafe crossing on the roads by pedestrians.
Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters recently addressed the 2016 Africa Road Safety Summit held under the theme: Halving Road Deaths and injuries by 2020.
She said: “Human beings are fallible and even the most safety-conscious individual will make a mistake or commit an error of judgement that might lead to a crash. Our road management authorities and the construction sector are increasingly taking this into account in the planning, design, building and maintenance of road networks. Best global practices in design and engineering are increasingly being implemented in developing countries and South Africa is, indeed, fortunate to draw on the experience and expertise available at an organisation such as SANRAL – which is widely-respected among its peers in the industry.
“Last month SANRAL hosted the meeting of the World Road Association which brought together the leading thinkers in the fields of planning and design. Local research shows that in the order of 95% of road traffic crashes happens as a direct result of one or more traffic offences.”
These include: human factor (82%), vehicle factors (10%) and, road environment factors (8%).
The severity of fatal crashes in South Africa mainly attributed to:
- The speed at which a crash happens – the higher the speed the higher the rate;
- The wearing rate of seatbelts, the higher the wearing rate the lower the severity.
Road Safety tips
These road safety tips are courtesy of Arrive Alive, the road safety campaign of the Department of Transport.
- Obey the rules of the road and carry your driver’s license with you.
- Plan the route to your holiday destination and allow yourself enough time to reach the destination.
- Make sure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before departure. All lights and indicators, windscreens, windscreen wipers, brakes, steering, shock absorbers, exhaust system and tyres should be carefully examined for faults.
- Do not overload.
- Try to avoid driving after dark if possible.
- Have a good rest before you embark on your journey.
- Take safety breaks every 2 hours or 200km. Rest, have an energy drink and continue once well rested.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Try to recognize potentially dangerous drivers on and pedestrians alongside the road and keep well clear of them.
- Be visible – drive with your lights on.
- Headlights should be dipped well before an approaching vehicle is within the range of the main beam.
- Always wear your seat belt and see that everyone in the car is wearing theirs.
- Drive defensively.
- Stay within the speed limit at all times.
- Only overtake when it is absolutely safe to do so.
- Maintain at least a 2-second following distance – this distance should be increased at night, in foggy or rainy conditions and when the road is wet.
- Expect others to not be as obedient to the law as yourself.
- Avoid distractions on the road such as texting, conversations on cellular phones etc.
- Be courteous towards fellow road users – keep your temper and resist the temptation to retaliate.
- Know your emergency numbers – When you need assistance, kindly call the following numbers: Police – 10111; Fire – 10177; Netcare 911 – 082 911; ER24 – 084 124 and Cell phone emergency – 112