THIS week sees the first school holidays of the year, and coupled with an extra-long weekend it signals a busy time on South African roads, but travellers can be reassured that Netcare 911 is ready to provide emergency medical care where the need arises.“From our experience in previous years, we know that this is an especially busy time on our roads and this, unfortunately, often leads to an increase in the number of tragic road accidents,” said Shalen Ramduth, Netcare 911’s director: business development and support services.Netcare 911 has bolstered its resources with ambulances, advanced life-support response vehicles and emergency care practitioners along the N3 highway between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal during this busy holiday period. It is hoped that in addition to being ready to provide prompt emergency medical and rescue assistance to the public, the high-visibility of the Netcare 911 team will help to keep road safety top-of-mind among road users.“Every motorist has a role to play in helping to make South Africa’s roads safer over this time by following reasonable safety precautions and displaying courteous driving behaviour. If we all take a few simple measures when travelling, it is possible to reduce the number of accidents and ensure that more people reach their destinations without incident.”Two major contributors to road accidents are driver fatigue and drunk driving, which are preventable. “Drivers need to be mentally alert and in good physical condition when embarking on a road trip, and stop at least every two hours for a break to refresh themselves so that they do not become fatigued, which can impair driving ability,” Ramduth said. “Drinking and driving is highly irresponsible and we urge the public not to drive while intoxicated, or travel with a driver who is under the influence. One of the most dangerous things about alcohol is that it can stimulate people to take risks without them realising that their judgment and co-ordination are impaired. Alcohol often creates a sense of confidence, so that people under the influence mistakenly believe that they are fully in control and able to drive.”Ramduth urges drivers to ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy and equipped with a spare tyre that is in good repair, basic tools, a reflective triangle and first aid kit.Netcare 911 urges road users to follow the following basic safety tips.• Ensure that the driver and passengers are wearing seat belts and children are properly secured in safety seats at all times.• Get adequate quality sleep before setting off on your journey.• Avoid drinking alcohol before and during the journey.• Take a break from driving at least every two hours. If you are feeling tired, stop at a safe place and stretch your legs. Wait for at least 10 minutes before getting back in the car, or take a nap if you are still tired.• Keep the temperature in your car cool, as a warmer interior encourages sleepiness.• Stay calm and extend your following distance between erratic or angry drivers.