'It's your responsibility' - Motorists can help prevent the carnage on SA roads this Easter

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Motorists are encouraged to take rest breaks on long journeys this Easter
Motorists are encouraged to take rest breaks on long journeys this Easter
Safely Home by Western Cape Government

• Road safety is a big concern in South Africa.

• With Easter upon us, the AA encourages all road users to act in a safe manner.

• In the last decade, more than 2400 people have died on SA's roads.

For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24

While 2020 will forever be etched in our memories, South Africans are picking up the pieces and trying to resume life as per 'normal'. As such, the upcoming Easter holiday will be an opportunity for many families to take to the road - the first time in more than a year. Easter 2021 falls on the first weekend in April, with Good Friday on Friday, 2 April, with an additional public holiday on Monday, 5 April following Easter Sunday.

The Automobile Association (AA) says: "The Easter long-weekend has traditionally been disastrous as far as road crashes and road fatalities are concerned. In the last decade, 2469 people have died on the country's roads over the Easter period. To prevent this annual carnage, road users must be vigilant and focussed when on the roads." 

The AA says every road user's responsibility is to be safe on the roads during this long weekend period, noting: "Just because you're not driving doesn't mean you're not a road user. Passengers, commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, people riding motorbikes, and even people selling products on the road are all road users. Along with electronic devices, alcohol, drugs, and distraction are dangerous to all road users."

road trip
Experiencing sunrise in the Klein Karoo

Road safety tips

Ahead of the festive period, the Association offers the following tips for road users:

  • Rest before travel. Do not make a journey - especially a long journey - if you are tired. While on the road, stop every two hours or 200km to stretch, and get fresh air.
  • Put all non-essential electronic devices away. If you are driving with a cellphone, use it only when you have to, not when you want to. Don't text and drive.
  • Ensure everyone in the vehicle wears their seatbelt, drive to the conditions of the road, and obey all the rules of the road.
  • Be courteous to other drivers.
  • The speed limit is not a target to be attained. Respect it.
  • Don't overtake when it is illegal or unsafe to do so.
  • If you are cyclist or riding a motorbike, also make yourself visible and ensure all protective clothing (including the helmet) are in a good condition.
  • If you are a pedestrian, walk where it is safe, and also make yourself as visible as possible. Wear reflective vests, sashes or other items of clothing to make yourself stand out (especially at night on dimly or badly lit roads).
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Respect traffic law enforcement, they are there to ensure your and other road users' safety.
  • Enjoy your drive and arrive safely at your destination.
  • Whether you're an AA Member or not, download the AA app to ensure fast, reliable and secure service when you are on the road, not only from a vehicle point of view, but also in terms of personal security through AA Armed Response.
A road user readying for her journey

A horrendous record

The Association encourages those going on vacation to make the journey part of their trip and get off the main roads and explore South Africa. It says overnighting at stops between destinations breaks a long drive and gives everyone a chance to visit and experience some of South Africa's history and wonder.

But, it says, wherever road users find themselves this festive season, they have to be attentive and careful.

The AA concludes: "South Africa has a horrendous road safety record, and it doesn't get better annually. While there are many things the government must do to improve road safety, road users must play their role. Without a conscious effort by road users to be safe, no actions by the government will ever work."

Traffic officer at a road block
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