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Get there safely: Festive season travel safety tips

Man and woman by son and daughter (6-10) in back of car with luggage, smiling, portrait

By Motlagae Konyana

It is nearing the end of 2018 and most of people will be hitting the open roads heading home or to their different holiday destinations for the long-awaited holiday break. Hitting the highway for a road trip to a travel destination or home is often a good idea but it comes with its own challenges however planning your trip will minimise the traveling stress and anxiety. Planning carefully and taking certain steps will ensure safe arrival at your destination and that you enjoy the road trip with your friends and family.

As the country prepares for the high traffic volumes ahead of festive season traveling, traffic authorities are concerned that South Africa is still struggling to meet its UN requirement of reducing road fatalities by 50% by 2020. The road death toll over the 2017/2018 festive season decreased to 1 527,  which is an 11% drop from the previous year (2016). These figures were for the period  between December 1 , 2017 to January 9, 2018.

The number of crashes on the N3 route between Heidelberg, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has increased by over 100 this year. N3 Toll Concessions, Miles Le Roux, says more work needs to be done to ensure that motorists exercise caution on the roads.

Here are some festive season travel safety tips for your road trip 

• When you are planning a road trip make sure the vehicle that you will be using is roadworthy and has been serviced to avoid any unwanted road-side situations. This may also mean obvious things like ensuring that you have a spare wheel that is in a good condition.

• Plan your trip route and ensure that you stay hydrated on the roads as the weather does get extremely hot. To avoid getting lost and frustrated, try to stick to major routes or toll roads. However If you are going to travel on the ‘back roads’ identify the towns  that are familiar along the route and the distance is between them so that you are able to to plan where to re-fuel.

• Plan rest stops along the way and, if you are traveling with kids, it is a great way to let them know when and where you will be stopping.

• Always ensure that a friend or family member, who is not traveling with you, is aware of the route that you are planning to travel. Ideally, you should also update them on your progress of the journey and let them know when you have reached your destination safely.

• Try and avoid peak travel periods if possible and night driving as well.

• No Drinking and driving  ensure  that your group has a designated driver as alcohol severely impairs your driving ability and is often the key factor for the increase in festive season accidents.

Be courteous on the road. Rather give way and practice caution by not overtaking on blind spots or barrier lines. This can go a long way to ensuring you and your family stay safe, since you cannot vouch for somebody else’s driving abilities.

Have a safe trip and happy holidays.

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