SET FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Make sure you plan your route ahead of your family holiday on the long road. Image: iStock
The Easter weekend carnage on South African roads has for many years been steadily increasing. However, last year saw a reduction of 46% in the number of road fatalities over the same period in 2015.
The Automobile Association (AA) expresses the hope that this was the start of a trend, rather than a blip in the statistics. And, the AA, warns, continued reductions in road fatalities are only possible if all road users change their attitudes while behind the wheel.
Traffic will increase
Easter weekend officially starts on Friday, April 14, and ends on Monday, April 17. Public schools across the country reopen on April 18.
“Traffic on major routes will most certainly increase, especially on the N1 to Moria in Limpopo, the N3 to KwaZulu-Natal, and the N1 and N2 to Cape Town.
"Motorists are advised to prepare themselves for more cars on the road, and possible delays at filling stations and toll plazas. We encourage all drivers to ensure they are suitably refreshed for their journeys, and have the right, calm attitude while driving,” the AA said.
The Association noted that many crashes on the road are the result of poor driver behaviour, and said drivers need to obey all the rules of the road including sticking to the speed limit, not drinking and driving, and not using electronic devices while driving.
“Too often drivers think bad situations won’t happen to them, which is not true. It only takes one other driver who is reckless to cause mayhem on the roads. We want to urge all drivers to be respectful of others, to not take chances on the roads, and to think of the consequences of their actions. Above all, we want everyone who is on the road during this Easter period to arrive at their destinations safely, and to return safely afterwards,” said the AA.
Safety tips for motorists
• Always buckle up, including passengers
• Rest every two hours or 200km. Do not drive tired. In 2016 the American Automobile Association (AAA) equated driving tired to driving drunk
• Drive to the conditions of the road, and not necessarily the marked speed limit for a particular road
• Ensure all tyres, including the spare, are in good condition
• Focus on the road, and not on your cellphone, while driving
• Do not overtake on a solid white line, or on a blind rise. Consider oncoming traffic
• Drive sober
• Be courteous and considerate to other road users
• Give extra space to pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users
• Watch out for children on the roads, they may be outside because of the school holidays
The AA also warned drivers to expect delays on the roads as law enforcement and safety initiatives are expected to be ramped up, especially on major routes, over this period.