Eight top travelling tips to keep you safe on the roads this Easter

The Easter weekend will see increased traffic volumes across South Africa's popular routes.
The Easter weekend will see increased traffic volumes across South Africa's popular routes.

The Easter weekend is nearly upon us and thousands of South Africans will be taking to the country's roads to visit family and friends.

While this time of the year allows us to plan short holidays and spend quality time with loved ones, it unfortunately brings with it a strong upswing in road accidents and fatalities due to increased traffic volumes across major routes. 

With this is mind the AA is offering these eight top tips to keep you safe on your travels.

1. Watch the speed limit — not the clock

Speeding is responsible for almost 30% of all fatal road crashes. It is more important to get to a destination than how long it takes to get there. Remember, the speed limit is not a target.

2. Buckle up all passengers

Studies conducted throughout the world have shown that seat belts save lives when worn and fitted correctly. The use of seat belts has shown to reduce the probability of being killed by 40-50% for drivers and front seat passengers, and by about 25% for passengers in rear seats.

3. Keep an eye on your rear-view mirror

The rear-view mirror promotes an alert driving experience by allowing drivers to see behind their vehicle without turning their head. By checking the rear-view mirror, drivers can monitor traffic and prepare for any potential dangers.

4. Stop when tired

Tired drivers have slower reaction times and suffer from reduced attention, awareness, and ability to control their vehicles. Research suggests driving tired can be as dangerous as drunk driving. The AA urges all drivers to stop every two hours or every 200km to stretch their legs and get fresh air before continuing with their trips.

5. Hands off the phone, eyes on the road

Anything that diverts attention away from the main task of driving is a distraction. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road and diverts their attention is dangerous. This includes cellphone usage, eating, or do anything other than focusing on the road ahead.

6. Share the road

Crashes can be avoided by identifying and sharing the road with other users. Always recognise that pedestrians are especially vulnerable because they do not have the same protection drivers have in a vehicle. Drivers have a responsibility to take every precaution to avoid hitting pedestrians.

7. Keep a safe following distance

A safe following distance is one of the golden rules of being a smart driver. It helps maintain a steady speed and gives time and space to decelerate or accelerate smoothly when needed. It also provides an escape route if needed.

8. Overtake safely

Overtaking when it is not safe to do so accounts for a high rate of fatalities on South African roads. Only overtake when it is legal to do so (e.g., not over a solid white line), and when the oncoming traffic is clear enough that it is safe to do so. Never overtake when you cannot see any oncoming traffic.

“It is also critical that vehicles are in good mechanical condition before any journey — especially a long journey — is taken. If you have any doubts about the condition of a vehicle it is critical to have it checked out before you travel,” urges the AA.


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