South African motorists must stay alert this long weekend

 ·29 Mar 2024

Many South Africans will be talking to the roads this easter weekend, but motorists must drive with caution as statistics point to increased dangers associated with travelling at this time of year.

According to the South Africa Insurance Association (SAIA), accidents can be avoided with a few precautions and proper planning.

Between 2018 and 2022, there was a slight drop in cumulative annual road fatalities.

However, roughly 35 people die on South Africa’s roads every day – most of which are between the ages of 25 and 44.

The SAIA urged drivers to prioritise road safety and ensure adequate vehicle insurance coverage, which is key for several reasons

We urge drivers to prioritise road safety and ensure adequate vehicle insurance coverage. This is imperative for several reasons:

  • South African roads are especially busy at this time: There are 13 million registered vehicles and 15 million licensed drivers, so the roads really are where you need to be most vigilant.

  • The weather can be unpredictable: Heavy rainfall and storms increase dangerous driving conditions, as witnessed during the 2023-2024 festive season. Many drivers fail to adjust their speed accordingly, leading to preventable accidents.

  • Most car accidents are caused by ‘human factors’: Recent reports show that more than 80% of road accidents were caused by “human factors”, over 10% resulted from environmental factors, and vehicle factors contributed almost 9%.

Although lower-percentages of accidents are due to climate-related weather conditions and poor vehicle maintenance, their importance should not be downgraded.

It is also crucial for travellers to take breaks every two hours during their journeys, while also sticking to the speed limit to avoid accidents.

Here are several steps that the SAIA provided to prepare for Easter Weekend travels:

  • Confirm that the vehicle you are travelling in is roadworthy. Maintain wear and tear items and promptly repair or replace damaged parts.

  • Review your insurance policy to ensure it supplies comprehensive coverage for your needs.

  • Check that you are adequately protected against potential risks and that your policy includes provisions for unforeseen circumstances.

  • Ensure that you have a valid driving license and that your vehicle is licensed.

  • Ensure that you, or your designated driver, do not drink or drive.

  • Make sure all adults and children are strapped in behind a seat belt during your journey. Ensure that every infant and toddler is placed securely in the appropriate car seat. 

  • Ensure that you maintain the speed limit. Unfortunately, the number of speeding fines issued in 2023 more than doubled from the previous year, climbing from around 34,500 to almost 79,000.

  • Install a telematics driving app on your phone. Insurers now offer telematics, a driving app installed on your phone to monitor your driving style. It tracks your speed, driving habits, time of day, and distance travelled, helping you identify areas for improvement.

Read: Big changes coming for mail delivery in South Africa – including possible rebates for delays

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