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Monday, April 22, 2024

A joint approach is required to prevent Easter road deaths, says AA

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The Automobile Association (AA) is urging government and motorists to do better to prevent road fatalities during this Easter long weekend.

Scores of holidaymakers are set to hit the road this weekend. The Easter period in 2022 saw 161 recorded road deaths which increased to 225 fatalities last year, an almost 40% increase year-on-year.

 

traffic fine roadshow

 

“Government needs to acknowledge that campaigns at specific times of the year – although well-intentioned – will not deliver any positive outcomes if proper traffic law enforcement and road safety education is not also conducted every other day of the year. Bad driving behaviour can only change if there is consistent application of road traffic laws and regulations and if this isn’t done for all 52 weeks of the year there is little hope of changing it during a two- or three-week blitz at Easter or at the end of the year,” said the AA.

 

READ MORE: Coastline caution as Spring Tide in full effect this Easter weekend

 

The AA’s Eleanor Mavimbela said the yearly increase in road deaths and the country’s overall horrific annual road fatality statistics, make it impossible for the country to achieve the UN Global Road Safety goal of reducing traffic deaths by half by 2030.

 

Mavimbela added that while government has much to consider in terms of improving road safety, road users must also take responsibility and obey the rules of the road.

 

Ahead of the Easter weekend the AA also offers some tips of travellers to ensure their journeys are safe. These include:

 

  1. Watch the speed limit – not the clock

    Speeding is responsible for almost 30% of all fatal road crashes. It is more important to get to a destination than how long it takes to get there. Remember, the speed limit is not a target!

 

  1. Buckle up all passengers

    Studies conducted throughout the world have shown that seatbelts save lives when worn and fitted correctly. The use of seatbelts has shown to reduce the probability of being killed by 40-50% for drivers and front seat passengers, and by about 25% for passengers in rear seats.

     
    3. Check rear-view mirrors diligently

    The rear-view mirror promotes an alert driving experience by allowing drivers to see behind their vehicle without turning their head. By checking the rear-view mirror, drivers can monitor traffic and prepare for any potential dangers.

    4. Stop when tired

    Tired drivers have slower reaction times and suffer from reduced attention, awareness, and ability to control their vehicles. Research suggests driving tired can be as dangerous as drunk driving. The AA again urges all drivers to stop every two hours or every 200km to stretch their legs and get fresh air before continuing with their trips.

    5. Hands off the phone, eyes on the road

 

Anything that diverts attention away from the main task of driving is a distraction.             Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road and which diverts a driver’s attention           from the road is dangerous. This includes cellphone usage, eating, or do anything other       than focusing on the road ahead.

 
    6. Share the road

Crashes can be avoided by identifying and sharing the road with other users. Always          recognise that pedestrians are especially vulnerable because they do not have the same      protection drivers have in a vehicle. Drivers have a responsibility to take every                    precaution to avoid hitting pedestrians.

   7. Keep a safe following distance

A safe following distance is one of the golden rules of being a smart driver. It helps             maintain a steady speed and gives time and space to decelerate or accelerate smoothly       when needed. It also provides an escape route if needed.

 8. Overtake safely

 

Overtaking when it is not safe to do so accounts for a high rate of fatalities on South           African roads. Only overtake when it is legal to do so (e.g., not over a solid white line),       and when the oncoming traffic is clear enough that it is safe to do so. Never overtake         when you cannot see any oncoming traffic.

 

“It is also critical that vehicles are in good mechanical condition before any journey –          especially a long journey – is taken. If you have any doubts about the condition of a            vehicle it is critical to have it checked out before you travel,” urges the AA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lizell Persens
Lizell Persens
Lizell is a Cape Town-based news anchor, reporter and transcriptionist. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and started her career as a TV producer. The avid reader enjoys writing poems, fast cars, music, travelling, and exploring new food.

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