Here’s how you can help to make SA’s roads safer for our kids

Pedestrians and cyclists are the groups most vulnerable to accidents and injuries on the road, says the Commission for Global Road Safety

Statistics compiled in the Road Safety annual report 2017 revealed that pedestrians alone accounted for 38% of reported fatalities, motorised vehicle passengers 33%, and motorised vehicle drivers 26%.

And that in 2015 road accidents cost the country a staggering R142.95 billion. 

Given the back-to-school rush we’ve seen this past week, the roads have once again returned to the usual volume. Now would be a good a time as any to consider these safety measures: 

In the driver's seat 

  • Don't rush, regardless of whether late or not avoid going over speed limits (60km/hr – urban roads; 80 km/hr – rural, 120km/hr motorway).
  • Be aware of children crossing the street, especially in a school area.
  • Maintain focus and avoid distractions like cell phones.
  • Be sure to pay special attention to your blind spots.
  • The Road Transport Management Corporation’s (RTMC) research report of 2016 showed drivers often engage in secondary activities while driving such as looking at, talking with the passenger, eating and grooming. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
  • Seat belts add to safety, reducing the risk of a fatality among front-seat passengers by 40–50% and of rear-seat passengers by between 25–75%.

When biking to school

  • Wear a properly fitted motorcycle helmet. This can help minimise severe injury by 70% and death by 40%.
  • Riding in groups with other learners in your neighbourhood helps increase the visibility of riders. Groups can even be led by a teacher, parent or an older student.
  • Ride in single file on the side of the road. 
  • Focus on the road ahead to anticipate obstacles such as potholes, speed bumps, and stationery cars.  
  • Increase your visibility by wearing a bright colour and be vigilant of other cars which may not see you.
  • Become familiar with the route and choose alternative, safe routes to school.
  • Avoid headphones as you need your ears on full alert. 
  • Obey the rules of the road and use the appropriate hand signals.

When walking to school

  • Walk on the pavement rather than in the road. 
  • Walk together in groups and wear brightly coloured tops for greater visibility.
  • Avoid earphones or texting as these distractions can make you vulnerable to vehicles.
  • Be alert: know what is going on around you in terms of cars, people etc.
  • Plan your route and use alternative routes which have less traffic.
  • When walking alone, keep a safe distance from strangers and avoid confrontation.
  • Only cross a road at a designated road crossing and when it is safe to do so.

When taking public transport

  • Avoid overcrowded buses or taxis.
  • When disembarking, make sure it is safe to do so and only once the vehicle has come to a complete stop.
  • Arrive 5 min before schedule pickup time and stand away from the kerb.

*Safety tips courtesy of RoadCover

What are your tips for keeping safe on the road, whether pedestrians, cyclists, or driver? Tell us in the comments section below. 

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