Cape Town - With each year, certain road incidents and stories stand out from the rest, especially when they end up costing a life or two.
As the country gets ready for the silly season, this list compiled by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) of the most dangerous roads to travel in South Africa is worth checking out.
The list is based on roads where most fatal crashes are likely to take place in the country and the roads which provincial authorities have identified as needing a higher concentration of resources to prevent crashes.
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As depressing as it may sound, according to Arrive Alive (AA), approximately 14 000 people die each year on South Africa’s roads, and there is no sign that these figures would decrease in the near future.
Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says the surge in festive season fatalities in the last three years from 1 587 in 2014/15 to 2 006 in 2016/17 shows a need for the zero tolerance approach to law enforcement on the road.
According to the RTMC driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to wear a seat-belt, using cell-phones while driving, excessive speeding, disregarding road conditions and signs are some of the driving behaviors that contribute to the high deaths tolls on SA's roads.
The department says a trends analysis of festive season road crashes shows that over the past three years, road accidents spike over the weekends. A deeper analysis shows that several crashes take place between 15H00 and mid-night, and again in the mornings between 04H00 and 07H00.
The department anticipates that the weekend leading to December 16 and the extended Christmas long weekend, as well as the New Year’s Day long week will be particularly challenging and taxing on traffic law enforcement officers.
Travellers are advised to plan their journeys carefully and avoid last minute rush and late night driving. Routes that pose the highest risks and built up areas - i.e. suburbs, townships and settlements - have been identified for intensified policing to reduce pedestrian and driver fatalities.
Added to this, the fitness of public transport and overloading will also receive close attention to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths.
SEE: Stay safe this festive season: Here’s your emergency need-to-know info
See map below:
Keep some of these Road Safety Tips in mind:
- If you’re planning a road trip make sure your car is roadworthy and get it serviced to avoid any unwanted road-side situations. This also means checking the obvious stuff like having a container of water in the boot and that your spare wheel is in working order.
- Drinking? Make sure your group has a designated driver as alcohol severely impairs your driving ability and is often the cause of many road incidents
- Be courteous on the road. Rather give way and practice caution by not overtaking on blind spots or barrier lines. This can go a long way to ensuring you and your family stay safe, since you cannot vouch for somebody else’s driving abilities.
- Buckle up. Enough said.
- Use your headlights during the day to increase your visibility.
- Most people forget that texting or talking on your cellphone is actually a criminal offence. Yes, we’re talking to you the driver of the car straddling lanes, swerving all over the place, driving ridiculously slow and almost hitting the motorcyclist. Just don’t do it.
- Stick to the speed limit. Enjoy the journey and arrive alive at your intended destination.
- With that said, make sure you don’t overextend yourself while driving. It helps if you have a tag driver to share some of the load with you. If you have to do all the driving yourself, make regular stops as being overtired, impairs your ability as much as alcohol does.
- Be aware of weather forecasts, visibility impaired during bad weather while thunderstorms, hail or flash flooding can also be detrimental.
- Pre-program useful apps and contacts numbers such the www.aa.co.za or ER24 - their Emergency Contact Centre can be reached 24 hours a day on 084 124.
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