Driving through unrest

Driving through unrest

Motorists are facing some of the most challenging times on the road during the current unrest plaguing South Africa. The stoning of vehicles and movement through large groups of people involved in the unrest is resulting in damages to vehicles, difficulty in getting to destinations or the avoidance of travel all together.

The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, is urging motorists to avoid travel as much as possible. “It, however, can be very difficult to do as often people need to continue working and travelling to get necessities. Essential workers and others who cannot avoid travel need to plan trips carefully before leaving. Follow the news, social media and traffic alert groups to identify areas where unrest is occurring or that have a high risk of it happening.

“Part of the difficulty is that it can be very difficult to know where and when violence may flare up and police forces are under immense strain. This means that often people cannot rely on authorities for assistance. For this reason, if you need to travel, especially in a high-risk area, the ideal solution is to change your travel plans.”

If you are unable to avoid travel, Google Maps has a function that indicates no-go areas that should be avoided. Follow this link to access the map. Be sure to use this to plan your routes and make the best decisions for your safety.

Other tips for staying as safe as possible during the unrest:

  • Bring unrest to the attention of authorities even if they are unable to attend to the situation immediately
  • Use GPS apps that will indicate where unrest is occurring and can suggest alternative routes
  • Remember to keep valuables in the boot and out of sight and try to travel with as few valuables as possible
  • Ensure your vehicle is in good working condition and that you have adequate fuel
  • Try travel with another person
  • If you use public transport, check the areas where unrest has been recorded and make alternative arrangements to get to work if your route runs through these areas
  • If caught up in the unrest, get to a place of safety such as a police station  
  • Prioritise your personal safety above all else and avoid engaging with protestors and make decisions that put your personal safety first
  • Your objective should be to move away from the area as quickly but safely as possible without stopping to engage with those involved or film the happenings
  • If there are authorities, listen to their instructions
  • If an area is cordoned off, rather find another route than risk driving around the blockade

It is unclear how long the unrest will last. “Until a degree of stability is obtained, make use of the Google Maps functionality to plan your route and keep these tips in mind,” says Herbert.



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