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Stuck in Jozi chaos? Top 10 tips for beating traffic jams

2015-10-15 09:34

HORROR BRIDGE COLLAPSE: The pedestrian bridge under construction across the M1 highway in Sandton has collapsed, killing two people and injuring dozens. Image: News24


Dash-cam footage captured in Australia shows drivers and pedestrians committing bizarre traffic infringements. And you thought SA drivers were bad...

Cape Town - On Wednesday, News24 reported on the collapse of a temporary bridge along the M1 highway in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Murray & Roberts, the company responsible for the construction, said it was investigating the incident.

The bridge collapse has left hundreds of Johannesburg drivers stranded in traffic.

Here are top tips for beating traffic chaos:

1 Plan your route: You might drive the same daily route to work but it's imperative to have an alternative. Acquaint yourself with alternative routes and new areas. 
2 Don’t tailgate:
Adjust your following distance and keep a 2-3 second gap between the car ahead. This could prevent a nasty fender-bender and will allow you room to maneuver.
3 Calm down:
If you're stuck in traffic, realise that you're not the only that's stressed out and potentially late for work. Violence is never the answer. If someone cuts you off, Arrive Alive comments: “Take a deep breath, simply back off a little and regain enough space – what counts is your safety!”
4 Park off or go for coffee:
If there’s an alternative route or road, why not go for breakfast and check your emails, catch-up on work etc.

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5 Power-up:
Make sure your phone is charged and that you're able to charge-up on the go (i.e powerbank). Have a spare battery or phone stored in your car.
6 Inform your loved ones
: Always make sure someone knows of your whereabouts and when/if you will be delayed.
7 Be alert:
Just because you’re stuck in traffic doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Always be aware of your surroundings and alert to criminals taking advantage of stranded drivers. Make sure your doors are locked and luggage/valuables stowed away.
8 Make sure your car has enough fuel:
Being stuck in traffic means your car might consume more, especially if it’s not equipped with stop/start technology. It's a good idea to switch off your vehicle if you're stationary for more than 30 seconds at a time.
9 Don’t 'ride' your clutch:
Just be patient. Put your car in neutral or even turn off the ignition if traffic isn’t moving. Riding your clutch in traffic will lead to extensive wear and tear leading to expensive repairs.
10 Car essentials:
You never know when disaster will strike on SA's roads so be prepared by storing water and snacks in your vehicle. It's also good idea to have a spare change of clothes and a raincoat in your boot. Arrive Alive’s Johan Jocke says: “It's always good to have a medical kit in the car. Also have water available - there may be young passengers or the elderly on-board and it's critical to stay hydrated.”

LIVE: Joburg recovers after bridge M1 collapse 

Arrive Alive editor, Johan Jonck, said: "Of all road crashes, 85% is due to human error, 10% vehicle fault and only about 5% environmental factors. The M1 bridge collapse is a "freak accident" in the same category as environmental disaster (road surface collapse or rock falls etc).

"It is positive for us that there has been several quick responses from authorities in lifting some of the EcoMobility restrictions which were in place with road closures by opening those roads, as well as negotiations with bus services to provide free travel today on Gautrain, Putco etc in the area."

"This shows that authorities were alert and responsive - this is the approach we need to make roads safer - a joint multi-disciplinary effort."

MAP: Johannesburg traffic chaos

Road safety tips you might not know

 • If you’re behind a truck and you can’t see its mirrors then its driver can’t see you.
 • A truck with a trailer needs two lanes to turn left or right.
 • An alert driver travelling at 60km/h takes about 3/4 of a second - or 12m of road - to realise braking is necessary and at least another 20m to stop. At higher speeds, the two distances increases exponentially.
 • You may not have any part of your body protrude / stick out of the vehicle except for the purpose of signalling.
 • The licensed driver who accompanies a learner driver must sit next to or directly behind the learner driver.
 • Heavy vehicles need a long distance to stop. So, for instance, if the traffic lights turn red and a truck or bus is approaching don't pull into their lane because this reduces their stopping distance.
 • You are required to tie a red piece of cloth to the end of any object that protrudes past your vehicle’s edge.
 • The first vehicle to arrive at a four-way stop has priority. At a traffic circle, give way to traffic to the right - that is, already using the roundabout.
 • The general speed limit on national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120km/h. On secondary (rural) roads it is 100km/h and in built-up areas it is usually 60km/h unless otherwise indicated.
 • An emergency triangle must be placed at least 45m from a stationary/broken-down vehicle

Improve emergency response

Jonck adds: "It's not up to us to pre-judge this matter as there will be several investigations from Department of Labour. The construction company and the City of Johannesburg has already indicated that they will be conducting an investigation.

"Whatever the reason - whether there it was a gust of wind, negligence in construction etc, this is something unforeseen for the motorists and something these motorists sadly could not have guarded against or have taken protective measures.

"For us it is important as road authorities and safety specialists to not only learn from the event in preventing such collapses - but also on how to improve response and how we manage to assist motorists in alleviating congestion. Our emergency teams are some of the best and we acknowledged their efforts in working together on the scene."


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