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Drunk drivers, fatigue - Here's how to stay safe while holiday driving

2019-04-18 14:25

TROUBLE FOR MOTORISTS: Ignoring fines won't be possible when the points demerit system is implemented locally. Image: Arrive Alive

This time of year brings with it a brief but welcome relief from everyday life with a number of public holidays right after each other. Some South Africans might see one of these weekends as the perfect opportunity to escape for a quick getaway.

Yet, the roads could be more dangerous at this time of year as public holidays – from a driving perspective - present some additional challenges.

1 Fatigue

Squashing a quick holiday into a three to four-day weekend, can be physically taxing. The managing director of Masterdrive, Eugene Herbert, explains: "Preparing, driving and time spent enjoying oneself can actually cause more fatigue than perhaps a ‘staycation’ would. As a driver, ensure you have a number of other competent people to share the driving duties with you and keep an extra eye on the road.

"You also need to be extra cautious of other drivers who may have fallen asleep at the wheel or are driving erratically because of a demanding weekend. If another driver starts wandering into your lane try to get their attention while immediately determining your escape route should this not help. Additionally, moving into the oncoming lane is not a safe escape route, you should rather slow down and move off the road all together."

2 Drunk driving 

Public holidays are also synonymous with overindulgence, especially when drinking. Herbert said: "Once again you need to be fully aware of your surroundings and be able to spot any evidence of drunk driving. Look for suspicious driving such as weaving across the road, hogging lanes, overdoing basic manoeuvres like taking wide turns and someone going too slowly or too fast. If it is safe to use your Bluetooth or if there is another person in the car, alert the authorities."

3 High risk periods

There are certain times of the day during which driving is riskier.

Herbert said: "Avoid driving at night when drunk drivers and those evading the law are out-and-about. Also avoid peak traffic hours and times. For example, if you can leave before the weekend officially begins, traffic can be much less."

If you will be taking on the roads this public holiday season, ensure you are ready for the extra challenges. Stay alert and be ready to take evasive action where necessary.

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