Stay safe on the road and off it this festive season

As traffic volumes across the country increase, the Automobile Association (AA) again urges motorists to take extra care on roads, and to be especially cautious when driving in bad weather conditions. The Association says it notes a reported increase in vehicle crashes in several provinces and warns that unless road users obey the rules of the road, these incidents will, unfortunately, continue to occur unabated throughout the festive period.

“This time of the year is sadly always characterised by a significant increase in traffic crashes that result in many fatalities. While traffic law enforcement is intensified during this period, these efforts alone will not result in a meaningful improvement in road safety. Poor driver behaviour is the leading cause of crashes and fatalities on South African roads, and unless all road users – drivers, passengers, those on motorbikes, cyclists, and pedestrians – take responsibility for their actions, our country’s dire road safety situation will simply not improve,” notes the Association.

The AA says along with obeying the rules of the road, road users must be patient and courteous and they should set an example for others, particularly youngsters.

“Good behaviour on the roads is learnt through the actions of others and if more experienced road users have a disregard for the rules, are aggressive towards others, and show no respect for traffic law enforcers, this behaviour is passed on to the next generation. There are many challenges facing road safety in South Africa, but motorists and other road users can help to deal with these by being positive role models,” says the AA.

The Association also notes that personal safety remains a worry, especially on high traffic roads.

“We have heard of several incidents throughout the year where motorists have been targeted and either been physically hurt, had their vehicles and possessions stolen, or both. We would advise all travellers to carefully plan their routes, and to take extra precautions when on the road. Among those precautions is to ensure they have proper security back-up if they need it,” says the AA.

In this regard, the AA again advises motorists to use personal security devices such as the AA’s Remi, a small personal hand-held device that, once activated, alerts the closest armed security provider to the user’s location of a distress, and immediately dispatches assistance. The device is a standalone unit with its own sim card and GSM module and does not require a mobile phone to be operational. More than 200-armed security companies across South Africa are linked to the service.

“Being safe on the roads means taking responsibility for your actions as a road user and setting a good example for others. But it also means taking responsibility for your and your family’s personal safety and security, to ensure you are secure on the road and off it,” concludes the AA.