To make our roads safer, we need to ensure that our own behaviour leads by example. The essential rules of the road to follow which could significantly reduce road accidents are simple and easy to follow.
Always wear a seatbelt, and if you have a child in the car, ensure that the correct restraints are installed and employed correctly. While child restraints are extremely safe devices, their effectiveness in preventing death and injury is hampered by poor compliance, the use of restraints unsuitable for the size and height of the child, incorrect installation and the use of old or damaged restraints. Legislation stipulates that everyone travelling in a motor vehicle should wear a seatbelt and that it is the driver's responsibility to ensure that all passengers are buckled up in a car safety seat or seatbelt.
Never drink and drive: a rule that can never be enforced enough. Studies have shown that 40 percent of pedestrians are killed on South African roads, about 70 percent of whom tested positive for alcohol or drug abuse. Had these people been driving, more than half would have exceeded the required limit. "A pedestrian who is over the legal alcohol limit is just as vulnerable on the road as the motorist" the AA adds.
Fatigue is another major cause of road death, and one that is easily ignored. Do not drive when you are tired, as this is another leading cause of road deaths. Fatigue and eye strain can be avoided by making frequent rest stops and driver changes are advisable at rest stops. If driving long distance, ensure that you include safety breaks every two hours or every 200 kilometers travelled.
The AA says pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists remain the most vulnerable of the road users on South African roads. "Civic society needs to adopt safety as its main focus in order to protect the very people who subscribe to it. And of course, government must be held accountable for every life lost, disabled and injured on our road network," says the AA.
"The rules of the road never change and every year we try and reinforce them," says the AA, "There are far too many accidents on the roads every year, and by reinforcing the safety rules we hope to minimise the amount of road deaths and accidents," the AA concludes.
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1126