According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), over 14 000 people died in road crashes on South African roads last year.
- Most fatal road accidents happen on weekends between 4 pm and 10 pm.
- December is the most dangerous month for travelling.
- Of all road users, pedestrians account for the highest number of fatalities, followed by passengers, drivers and then cyclists.
- Human error contributes to 77% of all fatal road accidents. These include:
- Distractions (using a cellphone, applying make-up, looking at a GPS)
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Jaywalking pedestrians
- Overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic
- Driver fatigue
How to be safer on the road
The Automobile Association of South Africa puts responsibility firmly in the hands of the driver: “Safer roads begin and end with the people who use them. With this in mind, we encourage all South African drivers 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.”
This means that drivers should:
- stop every two hours to take a break.
- stick to speed limits.
- only overtake when it’s safe to do so.
- not drive on the shoulder of the road
- not pull over on a corner.
- not be under the influence of alcohol.
- not use a cellphone while driving.
- make sure that all passengers are buckled up, including babies who should be in a car seat – it’s the law.
- keep an eye out for pedestrians and other road users. Approximately 40% of all victims of road deaths are pedestrians, so drivers should be vigilant, especially when lighting conditions are poor.