By: Poelano Malema
With just a few hours before the Easter weekend begins, traffic officials are out in full force to ensure adherence to the rules of the road.
This comes as holiday makers start making their way to various holiday destinations.
Officials say one of their main objectives during this long weekend is to reduce the number of pedestrians killed on the roads.
Last year, Transport minister Fikile Mbalula reported that 28 people died over the Easter weekend – a dramatic 82% reduction from the 162 killed in 2019. Pedestrians contributed to around 38% of the 28 people who died.
However, the low figures were as a result of more than a 70% reduction in vehicle movement on the country’s roads due to the lockdown restrictions.
This year, however, church gatherings, going on holiday, and traveling to other provinces are not prohibited. This means there will be more vehicles on the road.
Gauteng traffic officials say there are a number of factors which contribute to crashes on the roads.
Spokesperson Sello Maremane outlines these factors.
“Unsafe overtaking and lane changing. Reckless and negligent driving. The use of cell phones while driving. Driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Traveling at a speed in excess of the prescribed limit. Pedestrians loitering on our freeway.”
Here is how you can ensure that you are safe on the roads this Easter
1. Speed kills – ensure that you adhere to the speed limit on the road. Driving at a high speed not only puts your life in danger, but other road users, too. It can also land you in jail.
2. Don’t drink and drive – driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the leading causes of accidents on the road.
3. Check that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before departure – this means all lights and indicators, windscreen wipers, brakes, steering, exhaust system, and tyres should be carefully examined for faults.
4. Don’t text and drive – using your mobile phone while driving can cause you to take your eyes off the road. Distracted driving is a major cause of road accidents.
5. Don’t overload your car – this is not only illegal but causes the tyres to overheat and makes the vehicle less stable, tougher to steer, and more difficult to stop.
6. Stop when feeling tired – driving when feeling fatigued can put your life in danger. Take safety breaks or rest stops whenever you feel tired. It is better to arrive late and safe, than not to arrive at all.
7. Wear your seat belt and ensure all passengers wear theirs – wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of death in an accident and prevent occupants from being flung out.
8. Be vigilant and be aware of potentially dangerous drivers.
9. Don’t overtake unless it is safe to do so.
10. Maintain at least a two-second following distance or enough space between your car and the car in front of you to pull out and drive away in an emergency situation.
11. Don’t ignore warning signs or lights that appear on your vehicle.
12. Regularly check the condition and pressure of your tyres.
Image courtesy of Pexels/ @Olli