It’s up to you to make our roads safe this Easter

The approaching Easter long-weekend will see a surge in traffic volumes on major routes in the country, and the Automobile Association (AA) urges motorists to be especially vigilant on the roads for their own, and other road users’ safety. The long weekend begins on Good Friday on Friday, 7 April, and ends on Tuesday following the public holiday on Monday after Easter Sunday on 9 April.

Statistics from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) show that 270 people died on the country’s roads over the Easter period in 2021. More than 2500 have died on the country’s roads over the Easter period in the last decade.

“Sadly, the increase in traffic over the Easter break also leads to an increase in the number of fatal crashes and road fatalities over this period. While traffic law enforcement is enhanced during this weekend, many road users continue to disobey the rules of the road, and to disregard their own and other road users’ safety. We therefore urge motorists, those on motorbikes, and pedestrians to be mindful of the increase in traffic volumes and to ensure they are cautious and always focused on the road when travelling,” says the AA.

The Association says road safety remains a problem in South Africa but, at the same time, is not prioritised sufficiently by authorities. It says even though traffic law enforcement is increased at specific times of the year, road users have a responsibility to obey the rules of the road.

“Traffic law enforcement can only do so much and if road users don’t play their role in ensuring their own safety, they compromise the efforts of traffic law enforcement. Road users have a responsibility when on the road and until everyone understands and respects this, our country’s festive and annual road fatalities – which, in our view, amount to a national crisis – will not decline,” the AA notes.

Ahead of the festive period, the Association offers the following tips for road users:

  • Drink or drive.
  • Text or drive.
  • Rest before you travel. Do not drive if you are tired. Stop every two hours or 200 kilometres to stretch and get fresh air.
  • Do not use electronic devices while driving. Use cell phones only when needed in an emergency.
  • Ensure everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt (front and back).
  • Drive to the conditions of the road. The indicated speed limit is not a target.
  • Do not overtake when it is unsafe to do so, and respect and obey the road markings which indicate when you may or may not pass other vehicles.
  • If you are cyclist, riding a motorbike or a pedestrian, make yourself visible and ensure your protective clothing is in good condition.
  • Ride and walk where it is safe to do so.
  • Ensure you are properly protected with access to a security panic device such as the AA’s Remi device, or an app on your phone you can activate if needed.
  • Respect traffic law enforcement, they are there to ensure your and other road users’ safety.
  • Enjoy your drive and arrive safely at your destination.

“We also encourage travellers to make the journey part of their vacation by getting off the main roads and exploring South Africa. Break a long drive with an overnight stay, and experience the splendour our country has to offer,” the AA concludes.