Ten golden rules for road safety

Returning from holiday after a long break can be quite stressful for many drivers who have to begin renegotiating heavy morning and afternoon traffic again. At this time of the year it’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with some basic road rules that keep you and your family safe on the road.

A good starting point are the ten Golden Rules for road safety published by the International Federation of Automobile Clubs (FIA). These rules are in support of the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety aimed at reducing road deaths around the world.

  1. Buckle up. Drivers and passengers should always wear a seatbelt. In South Africa it is also the law that any child under the age of three is in a properly secure car seat. Wearing a seatbelt greatly reduces the chance of death or serious injury in crashes.
  2. Respect the rules of the road. Road rules are there for everyone, and there to promote safety. Ignoring the rules of the road is selfish and puts other drivers and risk.
  3. Obey the speed limit. Cars are made of metal, pedestrians and children are not.
  4. Check your tyres. Worn tyres are extremely dangerous and can cause severe damage if they burst. Always check your tyres for wear, and the correct inflation, including the spare.
  5. Drive sober. Driving drunk is extremely dangerous and illegal. If you are driving drunk you are a danger on the roads.
  6. Protect your children. All children should be seated and buckled up. Younger children should be seated in car or booster seats and secured properly for the journey, no matter how short it is.
  7. Pay attention.  Distracted driving leads to less focus on the road and is extremely dangerous. Put your cellphone away and focus on the road ahead. No call or text message is more important than your life or the lives of your passengers and other road users.
  8. Stop when you are tired. Driving while tired has been compared to driving while drunk. If you are tired, stop and rest. The AA advises all motorists to stop and rest every two hours or 200km.
  9. Wear a helmet. If you drive a motorbike or bicycle wear a helmet – it is a basic safety necessity.
  10. Be courteous and considerate.  Everyone wants to be somewhere, and get there as quickly as possible. Respect other drivers who also have a right to be on the road with you.