There was an upside to the Covid second wave experienced in South Africa in the holiday season in 2020. Traffic declined by 8.8% from the previous year, which is why there were fewer accidents on South Africa’s roads. Only Mpumalanga recorded an increase in fatalities. Fewer road accidents led to fewer serious injuries and deaths in all the other provinces. This drop in the number of fatalities on South African roads may seem like a silver lining, but it’s not all good news.
Looking ahead to a South African holiday season less impacted by Covid this year, our roads are likely to be buzzing again. So, what can we learn from the 2020 road accident statistics released by transport minister Fikile Mbalula to keep us safer on the roads? We break down the stats:
Weekends Are High Risk
More than half of fatal crashes happened between Fridays and Sundays. Most of these crashes occur in residential areas. One of the most dangerous things a driver can do is to become complacent and overconfident while driving, and this tends to happen when they are close to home. Some drivers might text, multitask, not wear their seat belt, or engage in other distracting activities when coming back or leaving home early in the morning too. This can lead to an accident. People often avoid freeways when they go out to drink and choose to drive home. While this reduces the chance of an accident on the highway, it doesn’t reduce the risk of a crash happening in a residential area.
When Are You at Most Risk?
The leading cause of driver fatalities included jaywalking, hit and run, speeding, overtaking into oncoming traffic, wet and slippery surfaces, and burst tyres. As a driver or passenger, wearing a seatbelt will reduce your risk of injury and double your chances of survival. Why do seatbelts make such a difference? If you are not strapped in your seat during a car crash, you will likely be thrown from the vehicle. This usually results in serious injuries or death. Airbags are an effective safety measure, but they work best when paired with seat belts. If you don’t wear your seatbelt, you’re still at risk of being thrown from the car.
In a car, unrestrained passengers or objects can cause injuries. The unrestrained passenger will tumble around the inside of the vehicle during a collision, increasing their likelihood of receiving an injury and increasing the odds that other passengers will be injured as well. To increase your chances of staying safe, everyone in the car should always buckle up.
If you’re injured in an accident, and it wasn’t your fault, you can contact Adendorff Attorneys Inc to help you. However, if you weren’t wearing your seat belt, this may affect your personal injury compensation.
Staying Safe in a Taxi
Minibus vehicles accounted for 8.2% of fatal crashes compared to 11.1% in 2019. According to an article by News24, South Africans are four times more likely to die in a minibus taxi than any other vehicle on the road. New research shows that minibuses are twice as likely to be involved in an accident than any other type of vehicle.
You can keep yourself safer by following these tips:
- If the tyres on the taxi look worn out or different from one another, this is a sign of a poorly maintained taxi. Skip it and wait for the next one to come along.
- If the taxi starts to fill up with passengers beyond what the taxi is legally allowed to accommodate, be prepared to get off and change taxis. The extra fare can be tough to swallow, but it’s better than the risk of being in an overloaded taxi.
Be Aware of Trucks!
Heavy vehicles had an increased contribution to fatal crashes. Trucks with a gross vehicle mass greater than 3,500kg were involved in 5.2% of fatal crashes. To be safer on the roads when there are trucks, stay out of a truck driver’s blind spot. When you’re driving behind the truck, dim your lights to avoid blinding the driver with your brights. Commercial trucks have larger mirrors than passenger vehicles that can be affected by bright headlights. Don’t drive directly next to the truck either, as it may block the driver’s view of the traffic coming from behind.
If you’re travelling on the roads to go on holiday this festive season, make safety and defensive driving a priority.
Have You Been in A Road Accident?
If you are involved in a car accident, and you or a passenger have been seriously injured, Adendorff Attorneys Inc. can assist you with your personal injury case against the Road Accident Fund.
We are specialist personal injury lawyers with offices in Cape Town and Pretoria but offer nationwide services. WhatsApp us on 076 911 7300, and we will get back to you.