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BE A SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE DRIVER

Road accidents cost our economy over R43 billion a year. - Jeff Radebe, Minister of Transport

Road accidents cost our economy over R43 billion a year. - Jeff Radebe, Minister of Transport

Thousands of people are killed or injured in accidents on South Africa's roads every year. But many of the accidents can be avoided if all of us take responsibility for our own safety and obey the rules of the road.

Road accidents do not only cause death and heartache, but is bad for the country's economy. Many people who are killed are those who are active in the economy and who support their families.

Alcohol and drugs

Drunken driving is one of the main causes of road accidents.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs makes it difficult for a driver to control the car or to act quickly in a dangerous situation. It also affects a driver's ability to judge distances between still-standing and moving objects.

A drunk driver stands to lose a lot if arrested. The punishment for drinking and driving is a R120 000 fine or six years in prison. Because drunk driving is illegal, a drunk driver will also get a criminal record.

In addition, the drunk driver's licence may be taken away and his or her insurance company has the right not to process the claim. The cars of drunk drivers who have caused accidents may also be taken away from them.

Speeding and tiredness

Speeding and tiredness are also major causes of road accidents. Speed reduces the amount of time needed to avoid a crash or to stop the vehicle. A tired driver loses concentration and cannot react quickly in emergencies.

The recent death of soccer star Gift Mpho Leremi is a reminder to everyone of how quickly road accidents can happen. With the holiday season ahead, people should be especially careful on the roads.

All of us must take responsibility for our own safety and obey the rules of the road

Rules of the road

  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Keep to the speed limit and obey all traffic signs.
  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Don't drive when you're tired; rest every two hours over long distances.
  • Ensure that your vehicle's tyres are in a good condition; smooth tyres make it difficult to control your vehicle.
  • Make sure your vehicle's brakes are in a good condition.
  • Don't use a cell phone while driving; it is illegal and makes it difficult to control your vehicle.
  • Keep your following distance.
  • Don't overtake another vehicle unless you're sure it's safe.