A dangerous time on the roads, the festive season unofficially kicks off today (Friday) with most workers going on vacation until 2018. This means that there will be a lot of cars heading to various destinations on the roads.
With family visits, vacations and road trips on the horizon, it means more and more motorists will be on the road and this increases the chances of road accidents if road rules and safety measures are not followed.
According to the Automobile Association (AA) in 2016, 14,071 people died on South African roads. Over the festive period last year (1 December 2016-9 January 2017) 1,714 people died, an alarming number of deaths over such a short period.
HuffPost spoke to the AA about how drivers can keep safe over the holidays. Here's nine tips:
1. Stop every two hours/200 kilometres to avoid fatigue
Plan your route, including stops, and ensure you make a plan to stop every 200kms or every two hours to rest, refuel and refresh.
2. Obey the rules of the road at all times
Set an example for young children or inexperienced drivers and follow the rules of the road. Buckle up everyone in the vehicle. Remember, children under three are required by law to be in proper child restraint seats.
3. Don't drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication
Driving under the influence or intoxication is the worst thing you can do for yourself, passengers and other motorists on the road.
4. Speed kills
Obey the speed limit, and drive according to the conditions of the road you are on. Remember everyone has a right to be on the road, and speed kills. This is not an episode of the Fast and the Furious.
5. Stay focused
Put your cell phone and other electronic devices away while driving. Focus on the road and on other drivers. Distracted driving diminishes reaction times. Focus.
6. Plan ahead
Plan your trip and try to avoid days when there is bound to be heavier traffic on the roads. If possible, leave a day sooner, or a day later. Do the same for the return leg of your journey. Prepare for a long trip by getting enough rest before leaving.
7. You vehicle must be in good condition
Keep the vehicle in good working condition, check the tyre pressures (including the spare) and replace them if needed. Ensure your car is in good condition and roadworthy and ready to take you to your destination and bring you home again.