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New Year, same traffic jams: How to survive returning to SA's roads

2017-01-05 12:59

TRAFFIC GRIND: Following a holiday, you may have forgotten just how bad traffic can be in SA. Image: AFP

Johannesburg - Following some well-deserved time at home or on holiday, you may have forgotten just how bad the traffic to and from work can be.

Added to this, the first few weeks of the year are notorious for being even busier than usual.

It's good idea to refresh your memory of some the most important defensive driving skills which could stop you from getting your new year off to a bad start.

Rules are rules

The rules of the road are there for a reason. While it may seem tempting to skip slow moving traffic by driving in the yellow lane, just simply do not. According to the MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, speeding, reckless driving, skipping red lights and stop signs, and driving the wrong way down a road are some of the most common causes of crashes.

READ: Top 10 tips for a safe holiday road trip in SA

Herbert said: “The amount of time you could save, is just not worth the risk. A large percentage of crashes result because people do not respect the rules of the road. Even if you are lucky enough to avoid a crash, the allowance other drivers need to make for transgressors makes the traffic situation worse. Additionally, being courteous to other drivers can also have a positive effect on the traffic.”


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Defensive driving

When you drive in traffic, you need to remain vigilant and be courteous to fellow road users.

Herbert said: “Drive looking a few seconds ahead of you not just at the car in front of you. If you see an emergency stop occur three cars ahead of you, you substantially reduce the chance of being involved in a bumper bashing than if you were just focusing on the car in front of you.
 
“At all times of your journey you should be aware of every car in front, behind and beside you. You should also be aware of any other potential hazards next to the road. If one of these or another car should suddenly become erratic, you should know about this long before it becomes a danger.” 

READ: Only 8% of motorists feel safe on SA roads over festive period - AA

One of the most important skills in defensive driving is maintaining a safe following distance.

Herbert said: "The value of a fast reaction coupled with ample space in which to react cannot be underestimated. Closing the gap between yourself and the car in front, so no one can slip into it, will not get you to work any faster."

Follow these tips as you head into the post-holiday season traffic. They will help you keep your cool and increase your chance of getting to work safely.

More advice for motorists:

  • When the traffic becomes heavier, adjust your speed. Zigzagging between cars makes you vulnerable to mistakes
  • Do not allow yourself to become aggravated with other drivers and consequently transfer this into your driving behaviour
  • Give yourself extra time so that if you run into extra traffic your driving does not become rash

If you would like to find out more about defensive driving, give MasterDrive a call on 086 110 0618.

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