New Year, New Driving Habits: Let's Make a Difference in 2010

With the festive season coming to an end, motorists will be off the highways and back to the congested streets, bringing the crash toll of the holiday season to an end and giving motorists a chance to make a difference to the large amount of road fatalities we see on our roads. The prevalence of crashes on our roads is widely attributed to irresponsible and reckless driving tactics as well as disregard for fellow road users. With the new year in mind, the AA urges motorists to develop new and safer driving habits.

The majority of fatal crashes are caused by a lack of safety practices on the road. The AA urges motorists to be more aware of road behaviour and to take a collective decision as road users to make our roads safer, the AA says that part of effective road management is for road-users to begin working in conjunction with traffic officers and obeying road rules. "There is still a lot to be done in terms of implementation of effective road regulation and traffic management, but motorists and road users also need to do their bit and make safer driving a resolution that goes beyond this year."

The AA has listed a number of small changes in driving habits that make a big difference in road safety.

  • Be alert and be aware. The best road users and motorists are those who are aware of their surroundings and are paying attention to the road conditions, weather and other external influences such as road works, accidents and collisions as well as obstructions.
  • Anticipate the driving of other users. Motorists have to be especially vigilant when driving next to loaded cars and trucks and they also have to pay extra attention to drivers who could be distracted by children and pets in the car. Learn to recognize potentially dangerous drivers and keep clear of them.
  • Be courteous and avoid road rage. There are no studies to show road-rage incidents, but anecdotal evidence shows that road rage is on the increase. Do not allow yourself to be provoked into being violent and resist the temptation to retaliate as it may result in anything from a collision to a shooting match.
  • Don't rush. Speed kills and there is no justification for rushing somewhere and endangering not just your life but that of other motorists and pedestrians. Manage your time effectively, know your regular routes and calculate distances between your destination and how much time it will take for you to drive from one point to another.

"Motorists need to start obeying the rules of the road - they are not there to punish or restrict you; it's to assist with the safety of all road users, including your own," says the AA. "The AA has been involved in road safety for over 75 years, and with reports indicating that South African motorists are becoming the worst in the world, all road users need to start taking responsibility and showing proper regard for others' safety. It's the simple things that make a difference - such as wearing your seatbelt, preventing/minimizing breakdowns by having your vehicle serviced regularly, and choosing to drive defensively rather than aggressively." adds the AA.

Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1126

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