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Be safe on the roads before schools re-open – AA

2017-07-22 07:00

Image: iStock

Cape Town - As the July school holidays draw to a close, the Automobile Association (AA) urges all drivers to be extra vigilant on the country’s roads, as they make their way home.

Schools across the country reopen on Monday, 24 July.

“We have already seen too many serious crashes in 2017 claiming the lives of hundreds of people. We urge all motorists to be alert behind the wheel, focus on the road ahead, obey the rules of the road, and be courteous and considerate of other drivers. Our road death statistics are too high, and we can only begin addressing them if everyone plays their role,” the AA says.

According to figures from the Road Traffic Management Corporation, 1420 people died on the country’s roads in July 2016, 235 more deaths than in 2015. These figures mirror the annual figure of 14 071 deaths (which was also up from the 2015 figures), and show any attempts to bring death on our roads under control are not working.

“What the numbers also show is road conditions, and vehicle condition, are not the largest contributors: driver attitude is. Too many drivers are still overtaking without knowing what is coming from the front, are being distracted by electronic devices and not focussing on the road, or are not obeying the rules. We again appeal to the motoring public to play their role and make our roads safer,” the Association says.

In addition to driving safer, the Association also calls on motorists to ensure their vehicles are in a good condition before setting off on their journey home. Tyres, brakes, lights, and overall engine condition should be reliable enough to bring you home safely.  

The Association says before leaving on a long journey, drivers should:

• Get enough rest before embarking on the trip,
• Share the driving responsibilities with other licensed drivers in the vehicle,
• Stop every two hours, or 200km, to stretch legs, get fresh air, or have something to eat,
• Obey the speed limits,
• Overtake only when it safe to do so, and there is no solid white line prohibiting this move,
• Check that their vehicle is in good working condition, including the tyres, brakes, windscreen wipers (front and back), and lights,
• Avoid using  electronic devices while behind the wheel, 
• Ensure everyone in the vehicle is buckled-up safely, including babies who, by law, must be in a car seat,
• Keep children busy to avoid distractions for the driver,
• Leave early to avoid the rush, but not too early to be tired,
• Don’t rush home; the target is safety, not speed (it’s not a time trial),
• Look out for pedestrians, and other road users. Pedestrians make up around 40 percent of all deaths on our roads annually, be vigilant, especially at dawn and dusk.
“Safer roads begin and end with the people who use them. With this in mind, we encourage every South African driver to make an effort to stay as safe as possible while behind the wheel, and to remember that getting to their destination a little later than planned is better than not getting there at all,” the AA concludes.

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