FROM March 20, the first school holidays of the year coupled with an extra-long weekend, signal a busy time on South African roads. Travellers can be reassured that Netcare 911 is ready to provide emergency medical care where the need arises.Netcare 911’s Shalen Ramduth said from experience in previous years, this is busy time on the roads and unfortunately often leads to an increase in the number of tragic road accidents.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 holiday period. It is hoped that in addition to being ready to provide prompt emergency medical and rescue assistance to the public where needed, 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 and return safely after their holidays.” said Ramduth.Two major contributors to road accidents are driver fatigue and drunk driving, which are preventable. He advised drivers to be mentally alert and in good physical condition when embarking on road trips, “Drivers should stop at least every two hours for a break to refresh themselves so that they do not become fatigued, which can impair driving ability. 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.” Ramduth said the most dangerous things about alcohol is that it can stimulate people to take unnecessary risks, without them realising that their judgment or co-ordination are impaired. “Alcohol often creates a sense of confidence, so people under the influence mistakenly believe that they are fully in control and able to drive.”Ramduth urged drivers to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy, equipped with a spare tyre, basic tools, a reflective triangle and a first aid kit.SAFETY TIPS:• always “buckle up”, ensuring the driver, passengers and children are wearing seat belts at all times;• get adequate sleep before setting off on your journey;• avoid drinking alcohol before and during the journey;• stop and take a break from driving at least every two hours;• if you are feeling tired, stop at a safe place and stretch your legs and wait for at least 10 minutes before getting back in the car, ensuring that you are properly refreshed, or take a nap if you are still tired;• keep the temperature in your car cool as a warmer interior encourages sleepiness;• make a point of checking blind spots and reading road conditions, watching out for potholes or a slippery surfaces in rainy weather, as well as oncoming and rear traffic. Do not simply keep your eye on the vehicle ahead of you. Also watch out specifically for pedestrians and cyclists near or on the road;• do not use your cellphone while driving, rather allow your passengers to SMS, tweet and take photographs for you;• ensure a safe following distance; and• stay calm and extend your following distance between erratic and aggressive drivers.“The importance of a first aid kit is often overlooked, sometimes the contents of the kits have expired. It is essential to check the contents of your first aid kit regularly and replace any expired or damaged contents,” he said.Checklist of items for your first aid kit• Sterile medical gloves• Cotton wool• A digital thermometer• Two medical eye patches• Burnshield dressing• A variety of bandages and plasters as well as sterile gauze• Antiseptic wipes and liquid• A space blanket• Safety pins, scissors, tweezers• Paracetamol tablets and syrup“Before setting off on your journey, it is advisable to do some research to obtain current information about the route that you are planning to take, including any roadworks or detours you will encounter. Getting lost or disorientated, especially when tired, can cause a driver to become distracted which could lead to an accident.”WHEN REPORTING AN EMERGENCY• Dial 082 911 and when the call is answered say “I have an emergency”. • Give your name and contact number clearly so that we will be made to contact you. • State whether it is a life-threatening situation and be specific about the nature of your emergency.• Give your exact location where the individuals requiring assistance can be found. — Supplied.