Every driver can help make trav­el­ling safer this Easter

ROAD SAFETY

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

With the Easter hol­i­day sea­son un­der way, the Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion (AA) has warned mo­torists that roads would again be busier.

An in­crease in traf­fic vol­umes al­most al­ways results in an in­crease in fa­tal­i­ties on the coun­try’s roads, and the AA says it is urg­ing mo­torists to be vig­i­lant while driv­ing. More than 1,700 peo­ple died on South African roads over the 2016-17 De­cem­ber hol­i­day pe­riod, an­other re­minder of the dan­gers of driv­ing on the coun­try’s roads dur­ing fes­tive breaks

Roads may be even more con­gested as trav­ellers en­joy a long week­end, with April 14 and April 17 be­ing pub­lic hol­i­days. April 17 may be es­pe­cially busy as hol­i­day mak­ers re­turn in time for the new school term, which be­gins on April 18.

The AA says traf­fic vol­umes on all SA’s ma­jor routes are ex­pected to in­crease, es­pe­cially on the N3 and the N1 and N2 to Cape Town.

“It is im­por­tant that any mo­torists who are plan­ning to be on the coun­try’s roads dur­ing these times are aware that there may be heav­ier-than-nor­mal traf­fic on their route.

“The most im­por­tant el­e­ment of driv­ing dur­ing this time is the cor­rect at­ti­tude on the roads; driv­ers must obey the rules of the road, re­spect other mo­torists, and en­sure their own and their pas­sen­gers’ safety go­ing to and re­turn­ing from their des­ti­na­tions,” the AA says.

Mo­torists are also urged to en­sure their ve­hi­cles are in good con­di­tion and to check them now — in­stead of wait­ing un­til the last minute to do so — as there may be a rush from many mo­torists want­ing to make last­minute re­pairs.

“Tyres, for in­stance, are a cru­cial el­e­ment of road safety. If you need to change your tyres be­fore you leave, do it now. If you wait, you may find tyre fit­ment cen­tres have run out of stock. This may im­pact on your hol­i­day plans. The same goes for me­chan­i­cal is­sues you need to re­solve — do it now, be­fore you re­alise it’s too late,” the AA says.

TRAF­FIC IS­SUES

The AA says that apart from hav­ing a route planned be­fore leav­ing, it is im­por­tant that mo­torists are aware of road con­di­tions and traf­fic is­sues on their route. Stop­ping to rest every two hours or 200km is vi­tal, as driv­ing while tired is akin to driv­ing while drunk.

In brief, the AA’s rec­om­men­da­tions are:

Wear your seat­belt at all times and en­sure all pas­sen­gers are wear­ing theirs;

Don’t drive drunk or un­der the in­flu­ence of any drugs;

Be cour­te­ous and con­sid­er­ate to other driv­ers;

Rest when you are tired, or every two hours or 200km;

Obey the speed limit and drive to road con­di­tions;

Check your tyres and re­place any bald­ing tyres, in­clud­ing the spare;

Check that your brakes and shock ab­sorbers are in good con­di­tion;

Check for any cracks or chips in your wind­screen, as these may get worse on a long jour­ney and cause vis­i­bil­ity is­sues;

Check wind­screen wipers (front and back) and en­sure they are work­ing prop­erly. Don’t wait for a heavy down­pour to dis­cover your wipers don’t work;

Check that all elec­tric com­po­nents on your ve­hi­cle work. If you are in doubt, have it checked out; and

If pos­si­ble, stag­ger your de­par­ture and re­turn dates to avoid the heavy traf­fic.

“Road fa­tal­i­ties in SA are a scourge on our na­tion and must be brought un­der con­trol. It is im­por­tant that every per­son on our roads un­der­stands they have a crit­i­cal role to play in road safety and to take that re­spon­si­bil­ity se­ri­ously,” the AA says.

High­ways will be busy again over the Easter long week­end.

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