Be safe – not sorry – this festive season

Schools across South Africa officially close for 2023 on 13 December and reopen on 17 January 2024. The expected increase in traffic volumes on the country’s major routes means road users will have to ensure they are vigilant and focussed on the road.

The Automobile Association (AA) again urges all motorists, passengers, and pedestrians to be responsible, and play their part in making holiday traffic safer.

“Traditionally this is an extremely dangerous time to be on our roads; fatalities over this period spike, especially on those routes where volumes increase substantially such as the N1 from Polokwane to Cape Town through Gauteng and Bloemfontein, the N2 along the Indian Ocean coastline, the N3 from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal, the N4 through Mpumalanga, and the N7 from Cape Town through Namaqualand to the Namibian border. All road users should be aware of these increases to traffic volumes, and adjust their behaviour accordingly,” says the AA.

And, says the AA, if you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to have your vehicle inspected, especially if you’re planning on a long trip. A 125-point check can be performed at all AA Auto Centres and AA Quality Assured Centres. For more information on this invaluable service, visit https://aa.co.za/aa-auto-centre/.

“A mechanically sound vehicle, with tyres that are in good condition, is essential to ensuring a safe journey. If you have any doubt as to the quality and condition of any part of your vehicle, check it out before you leave. This counts for any other vehicle you may be towing such as a trailer or caravan. Having AA Membership – and access to the AA app is equally important but not needing to use the services should be your priority,” says the Association.

Apart from this, the AA says a good attitude while on the road is vital.

“Law enforcement efforts will intensify during the holiday period but it’s still the responsibility of every road user to be courteous to others and to observe the rules of the road. Speed limits are not targets, and seatbelts are not just accessories. Drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and even those on motorbikes should not use electronic devices, and everyone – including front passengers – should focus on the road. Unless everyone makes an effort to be safe on our roads, our country’s woeful road safety statistics will not improve,” says the AA.

Personal safety should also be consideration for travellers especially as there are still many reports of motorists being targeted, physically harmed, and robbed of their possessions. The AA advises travellers to plan their routes carefully, to monitor radio and social media reports for road conditions and potential hazards on their routes, and to take extra precautions for long journeys.

“Using personal security devices such as the AA’s Rem-I device is an excellent way of providing an extra layer of security for your and your family’s personal safety. The Rem-I is a small personal hand-held device which, 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 250 armed and medical response companies across South Africa are linked to the service,” notes the AA.

Visit https://my.aa.co.za/amica or contact 0861 000 234 for more information on how to purchase your Rem-I device and to ensure you and your family have adequate back-up when you need it.

“The holiday period is a time for family and friends and every measure should be taken to ensure you arrive safely at your destination, and back home again. Taking a chance with unroadworthy vehicles and tyres is not worth the risk and could lead to serious consequences for you, your family, and other road users,” concludes the AA.