Winter is a dangerous time

2015-06-09 06:00

Another successful road safety workshop was held at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital last week.

Attendees of the workshop included Western Cape premier Helen Zille, provincial minister of transport and public works Donald Grant, the Global Road Safety Partnership South Africa and Childsafe.

This was the eighth workshop to be held by various stakeholders to minimise the risk of road accidents.

With winter coming near the workshop theme was season-appropriate, “Visibility”.

Inadequate visibility on the road increases the risk of a crash for all types of road users. However, the most vulnerable road users are motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians and children.

Due to heavy rains in winter and the intensity of darkness road users are encouraged to wear bright colours so that they can be easily visible to motorists.

More than 17 000 South Africans are killed on the nation’s roads each year, including almost 3 000 children. Another 68 000 people are seriously injured.

These deaths and injuries are preventable. They can be avoided especially if people stop drinking and driving, crossing on highways and being on the roads after drinking.

Hector Elliot from the department of transport says a lot of accidents can be avoided.

In his presentation at the workshop he urged pedestrians not to cross highways and warned that children must be supervised at all times.

“Most people who die on the roads are pedestrians. Those who are intoxicated mustn’t be on the roads. Unsupervised children who play in the roads are also at risk of being knocked down by cars,” he said.

Motorists were also urged to ensure their seat belts were on at all times. During the workshop it came to light that only a few people used their seat belts.

Elliot added that, according to a survey by AA in 2013, “in poor communities there is a poor understanding of the purpose of seat belts. There is also a persistent myth about seat belts that they will trap you in a burning car”

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