• Editor

Stay Safe, Drive Safe – How to stay safe on the roads these upcoming holidays

With the Easter holiday upon us – and with the recent exit from the second wave and returning to level 1 – this newfound freedom has primed us to leave our home-made cocoons and return to some semblance of everyday life, as we travel to see friends and family, or holiday locally. Yet, Easter is a notoriously dangerous time to take to the roads. Skipping back two years (because 2020 was not your average year), over 104 fatalities were recorded in South Africa over the Easter weekend in 2019. In 2018, that figure was recorded at a devastating 510 fatalities due to road accidents. Will 2021 be any different?

Johan Kleu from Momentum Multiply says, “When we’re on holiday and relaxed, we suddenly become less aware and focused.”

“We need to be very careful of lowering our guard on the roads. This is especially critical to bear in mind this year, as – after having our December holidays cut short by the return to level 3 lockdown – we experience a newfound sense of freedom this Easter, which is often accompanied by a degree of carelessness.”

The holiday season brings with it increased traffic on the roads, so it’s in your and your family’s interest to remember what it means to stay safe when embarking on your holiday road trip.

Kleu provides a few of these essential road safety reminders:

The pre-journey safety check

Before you hit the road with your family and friends, you need to make sure your car is ready for any journey. Here are a few things you need to check:

  • brakelights

  • headlights

  • oil

  • wear and tear on tyres

  • tyre pressure

  • spare tyre

  • brake pads

  • petrol

If all of these are in order, you are ready to pack the car and officially begin your holiday.

Staying safe on the road

Kleu says safe driving should be a top priority whenever you’re on the road.

The first and most important decision you can make when it comes to your driving behaviour is to be predictable. “Avoid making sudden lane changes and stops in the middle of the road. Drive in such a way that other drivers can predict your next action,” says Kleu.

He adds that all your attention should not only be focused on your driving, but also on the driving of other drivers around you.

You should always:

  • Avoid multitasking

  • Your phone can wait or rather pull over into a rest stop to check your WhatsApp.

  • Keep your attention on the road

  • Even a second of distraction can lead to a lifetime of regret.

  • Stay alert

  • You should always be well rested and never drive tired. It’s always best to have a secondary driver in the car to take over when you need a break.

  • Know where you’re going

  • A hands-free GPS – or assigning the role of navigator to one of your passengers – is always best, but also familiarise yourself with the general directions before you leave, so you have an idea of where you’re heading.

To all those who are taking a road trip for the upcoming holidays, Kleu urges you to drive safe, stay safe and be responsible. “Together we protect each other on the road by protecting ourselves and our families.