10 Apr 2017 laia

Tips for driving safer this Easter holiday

Easter holidays are upon us once again and many South Africans will embark on their different holiday journeys. During this period, the country’s roads will be very busy and this rise in activity unfortunately increases the potential risks of motor accidents. The Department of Transport’s report on road accidents recorded 156 road accident deaths during last year’s Easter period, and 287 fatalities in the 2015 Easter holiday.

Dawie Loots, CEO of MUA Insurance Acceptances, says that these alarming statistics prove that motorists need to be extra vigilant and cautious when on the road during the Easter period. “During this time motorists tend to change their normal road usage patterns to rather dangerous driving behaviour.”

One of the ways motorists change their driving behaviour is they tend to speed more and take chances when overtaking slower vehicles as they try to reach their destinations as quick as possible. “However, this type of driving behaviour is extremely dangerous and drivers should rather be patient and considerate when driving during this period,” he says.

Loots provides the below safe driving tips for those who will be on the country’s roads over the next few days;

Fight fatigue:

Fatigue is extremely dangerous when the driver has to embark on a long journey as they run the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. It is vital that no motorists go on the road without proper rest before the trip. Should the driver start feeling tired during the journey, the travel companions (and driver themselves) should identify signs of fatigue immediately and make a decision to rest or an alternative driver should continue the journey. It is also advisable to take turns driving the car if there is more than one capable driver in the vehicle.

Keep your eyes on the road:

Distractions, such a beeping mobile, changing the radio station or eating a snack, takes the driver’s attention off the road for a second – which can be a potential danger. For that split second that the driver’s eyes are off the road something can easily go wrong and they can be involved in an accident. It is important that the driver keeps their focus on the road at all times.

Be patient:

By being patient and not making rash decisions for overtaking a vehicle, the driver can save their own lives and the lives of others on the road. Many motorists tend to get impatient with a truck or slow vehicle in front of them and simply take an estimated guess or gap to overtake the slow vehicle, which can be a fatal mistake.

Practice safe driving habits:

It’s the responsibility of the driver and all passengers to ensure that the following road safety practices are adhered to:

  • All passengers must have their safety belt on at all times;
  • The drive must refrain from drinking and driving;
  • The driver must stay within the speed limit that is stipulated by road signs;
  • Ensure the car remains visible at all times by switching the headlights on; and
  • Always keeping a safe following distance.

“By following the above tips, motorists can ensure that they can arrive safely at their destination and make the roads a safer place for everyone over the Easter holiday,” concludes Loots.

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