For many people, the end of the year is a time to relax, but it's also a time to party more, eat more and drink more. This is a South African tradition. But it is also a South African tragedy, because levels of road safety drop sharply at this time with accidents causing injury and death.
Every year, more than 10 000 people die on South Africa's roads. The majority of them are pedestrians. The death toll is usually highest during the Easter and Christmas holiday periods when the roads are busier than normal.
This is because many people go on holiday and travel to different places all over the country to visit family and friends.
- Plan your journey carefully.
- Do not start the journey when you are tired. This affects your concentration.
- When driving long distances take a break after every 200 kilometres.
- Check you vehicle for roadworthiness.
- Check the brakes, wind shield wipers, indicators, correct tyre pressure and oil and water.
- Don't take any alcohol before or during the journey. Alcohol affects your concentration.
- Stick to the speed limit. The speed limits are MAXIMUM speeds. So, if it is raining, misty or the road is crowded, lower your speed.
- Always keep a safe following distance (at least 2 seconds) from the vehicle in front of you.
- When overtaking, make sure there is no oncoming traffic, a solid white line or traffic signs that forbid overtaking.
- It is illegal to overtake at crossings, blind rises and sharp turns.
- Switch on your headlights when visibility is poor. This helps you to be visible to all other vehicles on the road.
- If you attend an end-of-year party, arrange a lift home or ask someone who has not taken alcohol to take you home.
- Mbulelo Baloyi