Africa’s road safety crisis was under the spotlight a t the International Transport Forum (ITF) Summit this week. Here’s an interesting statistic – Africa has 2% of all the vehicles in the world but 20% of road deaths.
According to the Automobile Association (AA) a staggering 134 000+ road deaths have occurred over 10 years in South Africa, putting us in our own crisis. The annual road fatality statistics for 2017, released by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) reveals the grim situation on SA’s roads. According to the statistics, 14 050 people died in road crashes on South African roads in 2017 alone.
The big question is what can and will be done to curb the death toll on our roads and we have a few suggestions:
• Buckle up. Our EMS teams advise that in many of the accidents scenes they attend to, casualties could have been avoided or minimised if the occupants of the vehicles had been wearing their seatbelts.
• Use car seats for children. Parents often fail to check but it is critical for the safety of children that they are in the correct safety seats and that those seats are correctly and securely fitted in the vehicle. Check “>this instructional video if you’re not sure exactly what to do.
• Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles on the road. In most cases, a safe following distance is much longer than a car length. You should drive at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front during ideal conditions. Add 1 second extra for each 3m of trailer length—when driving a vehicle towing a trailer or caravan.
• Do not attempt to drive if you have consumed prescription medications that lead to drowsiness or if you have been drinking. Rather call an Uber or arrange for your partner or friend to drive you.
• Keep your calm. Road rage is on the increase and the more impatient drivers are, the more likely they are to either cause or be involved in an accident. Arrange to leave early enough to allow for minor delays on the roads.
• Check your eyesight and avoid night driving if you do not see clearly at night. Many people battle with night driving and if you are one of them it’s best to limit night outings as much as possible or at least stick to well lit roads.
So there it is. Our roads are not as safe as we’d like and it is up to us as licensed drivers to take the necessary precautions when we are behind the wheel of a car.