No more delays on N3

2015-12-09 10:32
Heavy traffic at the Wilge Plaza (Ettiene van der Merwe. MyNews24)

Heavy traffic at the Wilge Plaza (Ettiene van der Merwe. MyNews24)

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Pietermaritzburg - With holiday traffic between Gauteng and Durban at full speed, the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has declared the N3 problem-free.

Sanral released a statement yesterday in which they said people travelling along the N3 between Gauteng and KZN would not experience any delays in the form of road works or maintenance.

The statement said the automated payment system at all toll plazas along the N3 became operational as of last Friday.

“Automated payment makes it much easier for motorists who undertake long-distance journeys,” said Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona.

“They will not have to wait in queues at toll plazas or pay cash at the booms. It will reduce travel time and result in safer and more enjoyable road journeys.”

And while drivers are planning road trips, a study commissioned by the N3 Toll concession (N3TC) has revealed that fatigue or drowsiness while driving can be a major contributing factor in accidents.

N3TC said fatigue is considered to have the same result as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving and can cause accidents.

“Although fatigue [or drowsiness] does not always result in a driver falling asleep, or causing a crash, it undoubtedly influences a driver’s ability to react and make decisions in traffic,” said N3TC transport engineer Miles le Roux.

“Fatigue results in poor judgment and decision-making and is often the cause of negligence and less tolerant behaviour on the road.”

N3TC commissioned the CSIR in 2011 to investigate over a five-year period, the possible role fatigue played in causing crashes on the N3 toll route between Warden and Villiers in the Free State.

As part of the study, 790 crashes, involving heavy vehicles, public transport and light vehicles, were recorded (over a five-year period) on the 100 km stretch of road.

“Most of the crashes occurred while the vehicles were travelling north, in the direction of Johannesburg, and whilst weather conditions were clear,” Le Roux said.

“Peak times of crashes were between 3 am and 8 am and between 6 pm and 9 pm.

“The results showed that of the accidents, 51,4% involved light motor vehicles whilst trucks made up 40,1% and public transport 8,5% of the crashes.

“Based on the study, it is estimated that 70% of crashes on this section … potentially points to fatigue playing a role,” added Le Roux.

“Health concerns such as poor eating habits, substance abuse as well as physical vehicle factors like not allowing sufficient fresh air circulation, being either too warm or too cold, or constant breathing of carbon monoxide from the exhaust emissions of vehicles, may all cause fatigue,” said the statement.

“A too familiar road environment may also lead to monotony and drivers losing concentration.”

— Witness Reporter.

As the year draws to a close, the beginning of “silly season” rolls in with a climb in road accidents due to drunk driving.

ER24 spokesperson Chitra Bodasing released a statement yesterday outlining the legal alcohol limit for South African drivers.

In the statement, ER24 chief medical officer Dr Robyn Holgate said the legal limit is a breath alcohol content of 0,24 mg per 1 000 ml or a blood alcohol limit of 0,05 g per 100 ml.

“The general rule of thumb is a maximum of one unit of alcohol per hour. However, to be safer, if you are going to be driving, rather refrain from drinking any alcohol,” she said in the statement.

“Alcohol distorts a person’s judgement and perceptions as well as slows down reaction times,” she added.

One can calculate how many units of alcohol have been consumed by multiplying the volume of the drink (in millilitres) by its percentage alcohol by volume and divide by 1 000 to determine the number of units of alcohol in the drink you had.

For example

•350 ml of beer at five percent volume would be calculated 350 x 5/1 000 = 1,75 units.

•750 ml of wine at 12% volume would be calculated 750 x 12/1 000 = 9,0 units.

According to Arrive Alive’s website, the rule of thumb is a maximum of one unit of alcohol per hour, which constitutes 10 ml of pure alcohol, based on an adult weighing 68 kg. Our bodies can process only one unit of alcohol each hour. However, it is important to be aware that if you weigh less than 68 kg your body will need more time to process the same amount of alcohol.

What does one unit represent in layman’s terms?

It is equal to two thirds of a beer or spirit cooler with five percent alcohol content.

For those who drink wine, 75 ml of red or white wine per hour with an alcohol content of 12% to 14% is acceptable.

Whisky and brandy connoisseurs can drink up to one 25 ml tot of alcohol per hour.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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