Important Safety Tips for Hassle Free Holiday

Unfortunately when we are on holiday, we tend to be relaxed and care free and let down your guard - which often means that you could become a target. As in other countries, there are a few basic precautions you should take in South Africa to ensure that your stay is as pleasant and safe as possible:

  • Avoid ostentatious displays of expensive jewellery, cameras and other valuables
  • Ensure that you have a map or guide of the area, as well as emergency contact numbers. (The AA provides a range of popular regional and town / city maps).
  • Orientate yourself with the area by consulting the map, speaking to the owner or manager of the hotel, resort or campsite that you are staying at. They can advise and assist on the area - providing you with safety tips or hints, as well as what to do, and maybe some “hidden treasures” that only locals are aware of. In this way you will not look like a tourist - as you will move around with some purpose.
  • It is definitely not advisable to carry large sums of money around, or if you do carry it in a money belt.
  • At night, steer clear of dark, isolated areas.
  • If in foot, Its better to explore in groups and stick to well-lit, busy streets
  • Plan your route beforehand.
  • A policeman or traffic officer will be happy to assist you if you get lost or need assistance.
  • Be wary of street children and vagrants
  • Keep your doors locked at all times and wind the windows up
  • Be aware of vendors and beggars at traffic lights
  • Lock valuable items in the boot (trunk) of the car if out and about - what cannot be seen - will not be temptation.
  • At night, park in well-lit areas
  • Never give strangers a lift

If in doubt about the safety of an area, phone a police station for advice (10111).

What to do if involved in a car crash

August 2008

In terms of Section 61 of the National Road Traffic Act (93 of 1996), a driver is obliged to do the following when involved in a vehicle accident:

  • 1. immediately stop the vehicle
  • 2. ascertain the nature and extent of any injury sustained
  • 3. if a person is injured, render assistance as he / she is capable of rendering
  • 4. ascertain the nature and extent of damage sustained
  • 5. if required to do so, give his / her name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle, as well as the registration number to any person having reasonable grounds for the information
  • 6. report the accident at a police station within 24 hours and produce the drivers licence
  • 7. not take any intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug unless prescribed by a medical practitioner.

On a practical level being involved in an accident is a traumatic event. It is quite easy to forget your responsibilities and to act out of character, however it is very important to make sure that as the driver you obtain as much information from the driver of the other vehicle. Typically you would need the other driver’s name and address, identity number, make of vehicle as well as the vehicle registration number. If either of the driver’s are injured and cannot communicate, one would need to obtain as much information as possible about that driver.

You would also need to accurately identify the location of the accident. If necessary measure it by pacing out the distance to a recognisable fixed point. A simple sketch plan of the accident could prove to be invaluable - especially if a court case results from the collision. Photographs of the vehicles, where a camera is available, is always a good idea.

Report the accident within 24 hours at any SAPS Station.

If your vehicle needs to be towed to a panel beater, contact your insurer and be guided by them as to who to call to do the recovery and where to take the vehicle. Always obtain a reference number.

When dealing with recovery companies, always establish the towing and recovery rate and never sign a blank towing form. Once again you would need to obtain as much information about the tow operator as possible before you agree to the recovery. If the operator has accreditation with the AA or major insurance companies, make a note of this.

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