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2013-01-23 07:34

TEXTING TURNS DEADLY: The AA has challenged all South African drivers to ignore their phones while driving and focus on road safety in 2013.

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CAPE TOWN - We're all aware by now of the fact that over 1 475 people lost their lives on our roads during the 2012 festive season. In South Africa just under 14000 people are killed each year which amounts to 40 deaths a day.

Globally, more people are killed as a result of road accidents than malaria. If each and every one of us places focus on road safety in 2013, it may make the difference between life and death for you and your loved ones.

In 2013, the AA challenges YOU to make a stand for safer roads in South Africa.

BREAKING BAD HABITS

Let's start February 2013 by breaking one of many bad habits - using your cell phone while driving. Studies show that if you're using your cell phone while driving, you are 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident than if you weren't. The average time it takes to check your cell phone is 2.5 seconds.

So, if you're travelling at 100km/h, you'll travel the length of a rugby field without seeing what's going on ahead of you.

You may say you only use your cell phone at a red light or when you're stationary. Studies indicate that drivers using cell phones look but fail to see up to 50% of what's happening around them.

Regardless, it is against the law. An SMS isn't worth your life or someone else's.

Road crashes are not inevitable, they are preventable. The AA has compiled a few guidelines to help you break the habit:

1 Use a hands-free device.
"When you simply can't be separated from your cell phone, use a hands-free device. Best practice would be to rather not make the call."

2 Keep your cell phone out of reach.
"Reduce the temptation to check in on Facebook or read your emails while driving. Put your phone somewhere you can't see it, like in your bag or in the boot."

3 Switch off your phone.
"Switch off, or set your phone to silent and avoid the temptation to take a call or read a text message. Change your voicemail greeting to "I can't take your call as I am driving", or simply, record "Don't answer" as your ringtone while driving as a reminder."

4 Keep both hands on the steering wheel.
"Your hands should be on your steering wheel at all times when you are not changing gears. Keep this in mind the next time you want to pick up your cell phone while driving." 

Our recommendation:
"If you have to call or SMS while driving, pull off the road safely and stop. Don't become another statistic."

Email us and we'll publish your thoughts or use the Readers' Comments section below...


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