Ticking death toll as roads get crowded

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    Precautionary measures to keep you alive this festive season.

    Shock will again overwhelm the nation early next year when the country counts its losses from the festive season.

    The usual refrain, ‘its one too many’ will again hog the limelight. To some, this reality will hit home when a work colleague, neighbour and loved one doesn’t return. The countdown to these losses started when schools closed and will intensify when workplaces including government offices close for the end of year festivities.Many are on the roads travelling 27/4 short and long distances to be with loved ones, on holiday and just for fun. Try as they will, traffic officials and road management staff, including the once or twice a year appearance of senior officials and the minister of transport, will be overwhelmed by the volume of traffic.

    The many years of Arrive Alive campaigns will ring hollow through their marginal impact as the death toll continues to rise and remain in the hundreds. It seems no effective deterrent is any closer as many will perish in road-related accidents due to fatigue, speed, jaywalking, unroadworthy and overloaded vehicles.

    According to the South African insurance association, the cost to the country in lives lost will be unmeasurable.

    The South African insurance association shares the following tips to assist motorists to keep safety at the top of their minds during when travelling this frenetic holiday season:

    • Drive safely. Road traffic crashes cost the economy approximately 3,4 per cent GDP. Avoid them by getting a minimum of six hours’ sleep the night before to enable you to concentrate while driving. Refer to the Arrive Alive campaigns for precautionary measures to help curb the amount of road and motor accidents.
    • Driving at night. Do most of your driving during the day. Research shows that 40 per cent of all traffic collisions occur at night because of poor visibility of the road, road signs, pedestrians, other vehicles and cyclists. Always drive with your headlights on for improved visibility – parking lights are not strong enough for driving at night. It is illegal to drive without head and tail lights at night. But, turn headlights to low beam when approaching oncoming traffic and following another vehicle.
    • Rainy weather quadruples the chance of an accident. Always slow down, increase following distance, stay towards the middle lane, as water tends to pool in the outer lanes. Avoid abrupt braking which can cause skidding or hydroplaning when tyres lose contact with the road. Slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator.
    • Music and driving. Loud music is an unsafe and dangerous distraction, especially when listening through earphones. It encourages faster driving, reduces the ability to hear the police, ambulance or fire engine sirens, warning hooters, barking dogs, cyclist bells and strange engine noises of your own vehicle.
    • Essential spares. Have emergency spares in case of a breakdown like a well inflated spare tyre, jumper cables, a can of engine oil and a reflective triangle.
    • Towing. Use only approved and accredited emergency towing company contracted by your insurance company. This to avoid liability for the cost of towing and storage fees incurred.