The 10 most dangerous roads in South Africa during the festive season

 ·21 Nov 2023

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has released its Festive Season Plan for 2023/24, revealing the most dangerous roads in South Africa during the December holidays.

The festive season period begins on 1 December 2023 and ends on 15 January 2024, representing a period of 46 days.

The RTMC noted that the festive season is normally characterised by increased travelling and numerous joyous festivities, which means more South Africans do long-distance travel and nighttime driving while also consuming more alcohol than normal.

The Corporation said this increase in travel volumes results in excessive speeding; reckless and negligent driving; overloaded public transport vehicles; and driver fatigue.

Consequently, these realities lead to fatal accidents on South Africa’s roads. According to the RTMC’s data, there were 12,436 fatalities in 2022/23. Of these 12,436 fatalities, last year’s festive season alone accounted for 1,560 – representing 34 motorists killed per day – while 1,299 fatal crashes were recorded over the period.

The data also noted that the distribution of fatal road crashes by province has remained constant over the last five years, with the Top five provinces contributing over 70% of the fatalities last year:

  • Gauteng (19%);
  • Eastern Cape (16%);
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal (16%);
  • Limpopo (12%); and
  • Western Cape (10%).

“Statistics from the previous festive season campaigns show that pedestrians are the most vulnerable road user group in South Africa. 41% of fatalities on our roads are pedestrians,” the department said.

“This reality calls for increased efforts to improve the safety of this vulnerable group. Our efforts will target visibility and walking, jaywalking, distracted walking and crossing on freeways.”

Most dangerous roads in South Africa

The RTMC Festive Season plan for 2023/24 highlighted critical routes that have seen more fatal crashes taking place during the past five-year period.

The top 10 most dangerous stretches of road are mostly in the Eastern Cape, while the R573 Moloto Road in Mpumalanga is the deadliest stretch, with 33 fatal crashes recorded and 38 fatalities last year.

This is followed by Dutywa on the N2 in the Eastern Cape in second and Mankweng on the R71 in Limpopo in third – with 29 and 27 fatal crashes.

The top 10 deadliest roads ranked by fatal crashes recorded last year are given in the table below.

ProvinceAreaRoadNo. of crashesNo. of fatalities
MpumalangaKwamhlangaR573 Moloto Road3338
Eastern CapeDutywaN22939
Eastern CapeMount AyliffN22628
Eastern CapeMbizanaR612424
Kwa-Zulu NatalPongolaN22332
North WestStilfonteinVentersdorp2023
Eastern CapeMthathaR611923

The RTMC noted the following tips if you plan on travelling any of these routes this holiday:

  • Be rested – Have a good Night’s sleep before getting behind the wheel. When driving long distances, take a break every two hours or 200km.
  • Be cool – Don’t drink and drive. Avoid road rage. Keep little ones entertained on long journeys to reduce the risk of distractions from the back seat.
  • Be patient – Be aware of pedestrians, hikers, runners, cyclists, and motorbikes on the road. Bakkies, boats, and caravans can also book your vision and slow you down. Be patient. If you can’t see past them, don’t overtake them.
  • Be safe – The sun is hotter and brighter driving during the summer. A sun visor stops it from hampering your vision, so pull it down when the glare gets dangerous.
  • Be prepared – If you plan on travelling this festive season, save the relevant emergency contacts or services on your phone before you embark on your travels.

Read: The worst areas for hijacking in South Africa – and the cars being targetted

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