Road safety tips to help you survive the festive season

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Experts call on all road users to be cautious on the road this festive season.
Experts call on all road users to be cautious on the road this festive season.
PHOTO: GALLO IMAGES/ Sharon Seretlo

It's that time of the year when everyone just seems to be in a hurry to get somewhere on South African roads and rules just don't seem to apply. 

They overtake on blind rises, some speed and some drive all night without taking a break. 

And those are some of the factors that lead to high accident numbers over the festive season. 

Road safety expert Tshepo Machaea says people should avoid being on the road where possible. He says those who have new cars should not be racing home to show them off this December. 

"The excitement of a new car can get overwhelming, add that you may not be used to the new car's power or being a new driver. Rather than risk not making it home, you can show off the new car to your family in the New Year. There will be less pressure," he says.

Tshepo says new drivers may have the documentation to drive in the form of a divers license,  but that does not mean they are equipped to drive long distance, across provinces, or that they are perfect drivers.

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"This is especially a problem with the youth."

He also urges drivers to stop drinking and driving. 

"People who do that are killers," he says.

"You may not kill someone but maybe someone who looks up to you sees your behavior and thinks it's the right thing to do. Then when they drive drunk they are not as lucky as you are, and they kill someone.

"Even when people speed, exceeding the limit, it is a very dangerous game to play. Just because your car can go up to 300km/h, the South African limit is 120 and people must adhere to it."

He gave the following tips:

  • Rest every 2 hours or 200km, whichever comes first
  • Plan your trip and factor in unforeseen circumstances in your time frames
  • Avoid night driving
  • Do pre-trip inspections where you even unlock you wheel-nuts so that if need to change tires during the trip, you know you can unlock them and they're not too tight.

Eastern Cape department of transport spokesperson, Unathi Binqose calls on all drivers to be vigilant. 

"We are calling on them to be extra vigilant, especially this coming weekend as the volume of traffic is expected to reach its peak as people make their final dash home for Christmas holidays. 

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"Take regular stretch breaks to break fatigue from setting it. We know that the distances are long and by the time they reach our shores they’ll be very exhausted. We will have our officers on the ground ready for any eventuality," he says.

Unathi says people must also be mindful of the whether conditions. 

"When driving conditions are less than ideal, with persistent rain, mist and hail in some instances, things that make for treacherous driving conditions with poor visibility as well as wet and slippery conditions."

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