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How to deal with load shedding and traffic

August 2015

Whether you have a generator to deal with down time or just a camping stove and a flashlight, load shedding has become a part of everyday life for South Africans. Unfortunately your generator isn’t going to be much help when load shedding hits during rush hour and you face hours in the traffic instead of your normal daily commute. From safety tips to our ideas for making good use of your time in the car, here is our guide to surviving load shedding traffic!

Avoiding the worst of the traffic
Use websites and apps like GridWatch to keep an eye on load shedding schedules. Apps like Google Maps or Waze, which provide real-time traffic mapping, are great for plotting alternative routes home on load shedding days.  

Making the best use of time in your car 
Make the best of a bad situation and plan to use the hours you spend behind the wheel constructively. Here are some ideas for turning clutch time into time well spent.

  • Listen to audiobooks

Download an audiobook from Audible to your Kindle or smartphone. Your first book is free! You can download novels, self help books, business books and even history books! And for the little passengers in the back seat, there are kiddie’s books too. 

  • Learn a new language 

Ukhuluma isiZulu na? Use the time in the car to learn a new language. Browse Amazon.com for audiobooks, CDs and downloads that will take you from hello to bonjour in no time.

  • Start podcasting

Listen to podcasts and tap into a whole world of news, views, information and opinions. Download a podcast to your smartphone for your daily commute using the Podcasts app for iPhones, the Stitcher app for Android, The Podcasts! app for Windows or bPod for BlackBerry. To find podcasts that interest you, search for them as you would for any other information online, for example ‘best parenting podcasts’ or ‘history podcasts’.

Be prepared
Always keep bottled water in your car and a snack for hungry kids – and parents! And don’t underestimate the importance of sunblock to protect your skin from the worst of the sun’s rays. 

Stay safe 
Being stuck in a long line of almost stationery vehicles makes you a target for smash and grabbers! 

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times and checks your mirrors regularly
  • Keep your doors locked 
  • Keep your windows slightly open (at least 3 cm) to make the glass more flexible and less likely to break if smashed
  • If possible, try and leave half a vehicle length between your car and the car in front of you, just in case you need an escape route 
  • Do not open your window to talk to street vendors or other strangers 
  • Store your valuables out of sight 
  • Consider a smash and grab tint for your windows to make it harder for criminals to see into your car

While you might not be able to avoid sitting in the traffic during load shedding, there is a lot you can do to make your traffic time more comfortable, safe and productive! 

Note: It is illegal to use your cellphone or tablet while you drive. Focus on the road at all times and do not allow anything to distract you.

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