'Change of behaviour needed to curb shocking SA road death numbers' - AA
Johannesburg - Since the start of December, road crashes around the country have claimed the lives of many people, including ten people who died when the taxi they were travelling in collided with cows in Mbombela earlier in the month.
The current situation, says the Automobile Association (AA), is untenable, and it urges all motorists to change their behaviour ahead of the expected festive season traffic rush.
The AA says: "Every day seems to bring another story of a horrific crash somewhere in our country; these result in multiple deaths and injuries, and very often involve children or babies. With the festive season holiday traffic expected to pick up soon, motorists must improve their behaviour on the roads, or else our fatality statistics will simply grow."
14 071 died on SA roads
In 2016, 14 071 people died on South African roads. Over the festive period last year (1 December 2016 – 9 January 2017) 1714 people died, an alarming number of deaths over such a short period.
“These deaths can no longer only be viewed as statistics. As a nation we need to be asking some serious questions about our driving behaviour, which seems to be the main reason for these high death rates," the AA says.
Ahead of the expected end-of-year traffic rush the AA says it is important for motorists to obey the rules of the road, ensure their vehicles are well maintained, and to drive with care wherever they are going.
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Some other tips the AA has are:
1 Wear a seat belt, and ensure all passengers are also buckled up. The law requires children under three to be secured in proper child restraint seats.
2 Check your tyres (including the spare) to ensure they are in good condition and safe. Worn tyres are potentially fatal.
3 Prepare for a long trip by getting enough rest before leaving. Also rest every two hundred kilometres or every two hours to stretch your legs, and get some fresh air.
4 Don’t speed. Apart from this, drive to the conditions of the road you are travelling on.
5 Drive sober. Alcohol, drugs and driving are a deadly combination.
6 If you are a pedestrian, make yourself visible and walk in properly lit areas. Also cross busy roads at the designated crossing lanes, and never walk on, or cross over a highway.
7 Pay attention while driving. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous. Put your cellphone away, and keep it in the car only for emergencies.
8 Be courteous to other drivers.
9 For added peace of mind on the road, download the AA App, which will give you access to a range of benefits and services.
Visit the Automobile Association website for more information.
“As we approach the end of the year we want to again appeal to all motorists to drive safely, and to not take risks behind the wheel. Overtake when it’s safe to do so, maintain a safe following distance and, above all, ensure you and your family arrive safely at your destination, and return safely afterwards,” the AA concludes.