Sibongile Mafu

Our roads are a horror movie

2013-04-03 12:05

Sibongile Mafu

Easter has come and gone and the number of deaths on our roads has been tallied up. Every province has more or less submitted their figures, and unsurprisingly the numbers are still too high. The figures are unacceptable, even outside of Easter and there has definitely a renewed sense of urgency in terms of dealing with this problem.

Eight people were killed on the roads during Easter in Mpumalanga. Eight people died on the roads in the North West. Oh, yes, and 33 people have died on KwaZulu Natal’s roads. And so on. There was a horrific KZN collision which happened on Monday evening involving a motorbike and three vehicles which basically summed up the general dark cloud that always hovered over the country at this time of the year.

Every year we pore over the numbers, hoping for a different result, and every year we are left disappointed and grief-stricken. Every year families are left with more questions than answers during a time that is supposed to be the most joyous period of the year for many.

What is it about Easter time that makes drivers and road users alike lose their minds? It’s like a Cape Town rainy day: Capetonians seem to lose their ability to function within a traffic situation. Easter is a prolonged Cape Town rainy day. Now I know every accident has its own circumstances and contexts but surely numbers like these aren’t anywhere near acceptable.

I go out of my way during Easter to avoid the roads. Call it fear, or cowardice or wisdom, but the constant the general devastation during this long weekend can force one to consider a weekend at home with the dogs. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Every year Easter campaigns roll out instructing us all to be vigilant on the roads, be aware and alert, but do we listen? Or perhaps we’re content with living in a country with one of the highest number of road traffic deaths in the world?

A UN World Health report showed that one million people are killed in road deaths worldwide every year. One million too many, and road deaths in Africa are on the rise. One of the most chilling statistics that I’ve encountered is that traffic accidents are the eighth leading cause of death worldwide and the top cause among people aged 15 to 29. Not cancer, or HIV or heart disease. Traffic accidents. We’re losing our young people to something that is completely preventable and manageable.

We’re losing our peers, friends and family unexpectedly and unacceptably.

Of course in times like these we look people to blame. Our roads are not up to scratch, taxi drivers should be driving properly, our motorists are the idiots. Pedestrians, motorist, and cyclists should all take responsibility. When on the roads and being aware that there are other people, just like you enclosed in steels boxes hurtling at over 100km an hour alongside you, you have to kind of sit up and pay attention.

When you realise that motorists are not the only people entitled to the use of the roads, maybe we’ll sit up and pay attention. And when we realise that in no way does the responsibility of being responsible on the roads fall on the shoulders of one group or body, is the day we can perhaps start turning things around, at a reasonable and safe speed.

Young people are dying, at a rapid rate. And that should be enough to stir you.

I should really start working in traffic safety. Maybe I’ll be a pointsman.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

Send your comments to Sibongile

Disclaimer:
News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24
.

- News24

NEXT ON NEWS24X

The testimony that sunk him

2014-04-18 07:00

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
22 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia E7

Your mobile office Real-time emails with Mail for Exchange. Easy access to...

From R3499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.