At least 151 people died in road accidents over the Easter weekend, according to preliminary figures released by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on Tuesday.
"We are currently busy crunching the numbers... at this point in time we will sit with the number of 151 until we get the full reports from the various police stations around the country," RTMC spokesperson Ashraf Ismail told SABC radio news.
One of the biggest accidents was on the road between Rouxville and Smithfield in the Free State, where eight people, including five children, were killed on Monday morning.
In the North West, five people were killed in different car crashes.
Four were killed in a head-on collision on Sunday around 22:30 between Odi Hospital and Klipgat after the driver of a Ford Meteor drove into oncoming traffic, leading to the head-on collision with an ambulance.
In the second accident, the driver of a VW Polo was killed when his vehicle collided head-on with a VW Golf outside Vryburg on Thursday night.
The driver who was killed was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road when the collision happened.
On Friday, 11 people died on the N4 near Ngodwana in Mpumalanga when two minibus taxis collided head-on just after midnight.
High traffic volumes
In the Eastern Cape, a two-month-old baby and man died in a head-on collision outside Uitenhage in the early hours of Friday morning.
A 23-year-old man died in an accident at around 06:30 outside Butterworth in the Eastern Cape.
In Gauteng, one person died and eight others were injured on the province's R82 road near Walkerville, when a minibus taxi collided head-on with a bakkie at 07:00.
Another man died when a minibus taxi and a car collided head-on, along Moloto Road in Pretoria.
Two men died when the bakkie they were travelling in crashed into a tree in Willowmore, Johannesburg on Friday at 19:00.
In the Free State, a 13-year-old boy was killed in a collision on the N3 near Warden. His parents sustained minor injuries.
The Department of Transport said high traffic volumes were anticipated across the country, particularly the N1 South from Polokwane to Pretoria, the N4 West from Nelspruit to Pretoria as well as the N3 from Durban to Johannesburg.
Roads were also expected to be busy on Wednesday, April 27 as well as during the coming long week-end, 29 April to 2 May, due to Freedom Day and Workers Day.
Here are some road safety tips to keep in mind if you spend time on the road:
- Have a good night's rest before a long trip - at least 8 hours for adults and 8.5 to 9.25 hours for teenagers.
- On long trips, take along a passenger who stays awake talking to the driver.
- Schedule regular stops - every two hours.
- Avoid alcohol or medications that may impair you.
- Recognise signs of fatigue - drifting from your lane, hitting strips, repeated yawning, trouble keeping your eyes open, or missing road signs.
- If you are tired, pull into a rest area and sleep for 15 to 45 minutes.
- Drink coffee - but remember it takes about 30 minutes for the caffeine to enter into your bloodstream.
- Make sure your car (tyres and brakes included) is in a sound mechanical condition.
- Minimise your night-time travelling – between 02h00 and 06h00 you are most likely to have an accident.
- Stick to the traffic rules and the speed limits – remember speed kills.
- Be patient in the traffic – better late than never.
- (Sapa/Health24, April 2011)