Every driver can help make travelling safer this Easter
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.
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.