"Don’t become a statistic this Easter." - This the message from the Automobile Association (AA) who – ahead of the Easter long weekend which starts on Friday (SUBS:: 19 April 2019) - is appealing to South Africans to be vigilant, focussed, and aware while on the country’s roads either while walking, cycling, riding a motorcycle or in a vehicle.
“While this year’s Easter period doesn’t coincide with government school holidays, traffic volumes on the country’s main roads are expected to pick up. From experience we know that increased numbers on the roads mean increased crashes and, unfortunately, increased serious injuries and deaths,” explains the AA.
The Association says it agrees with Transport Minister Blade Nzimande that road safety cannot be the responsibility of government or authorities alone and needs the cooperation and backing of all road users.
“Too many road users – pedestrians and those in vehicles - still believe the road rules don’t apply to them. They also have a misguided belief that they’re better drivers than others and that something bad won’t happen to them or their families. Unless there is a conscious effort on the part of everyone who uses roads, our fatality numbers will increase,” notes the AA.
In addition, says the AA, South Africans have become so desensitised to road deaths that the fact the country ranks amongst the worst in the world in terms of deaths per capita on our roads doesn’t seem to register more than a passing shrug of the shoulders.
“Road fatality statistics are released after every Easter and festive season period. For most South Africans the 14 000 plus road deaths annually seem remote and a problem they believe they are not part of. However, when we consider that crashes in the country cost our economy almost R143 billion, the scale of the problem becomes clearer. We honestly believe the lack of road safety in our country is a national disaster,” says the AA.
If you are planning on being on the country’s roads this Easter, the Association says it’s important to follow the rules of the road, to be courteous to other drivers and, above all, to be an example for others.
Tips for safe travelling include:
- Ensure your car or motorbike is in good mechanical condition
- Ensure your tyres (including the spare) are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure (good enough to get you to your destination and back again)
- Respect the speed limit and road markings, and indicate when you change lanes
- Keep a cellphone for emergencies but don’t use it while driving (using a cellphone while driving is illegal)
- Take a break every two hours or 200kms to stretch your legal and get some fresh air
If you are pedestrian make yourself visible. If you are using a motorbike, wear a helmet. Don’t drink and drive, get enough rest ahead of a long trip, and plan your route.
“Personal safety on our roads is very much something each and every road user has control over. Without a collective conscious effort to keep our roads safe, we will never eliminate deaths from our roads,” concludes the AA.