South Africa has one of the highest road death rates in the world with almost 32 deaths per 100 000 people. That translates to at least 1 200 people dying on our roads every month – and alcohol remains a major factor, with statistics from 2013 showing that the death toll caused by drunk drivers has increased to nearly 12 000 annually.
To avoid becoming a statistic and leaving behind a devastated family, responsibility must fall on each and every road user. The Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa says it best: we all need to lead by example and be the safest of drivers. And if you do drink, don’t drive – there are options available to help you get home safely, such as MiWay’s WeDrive service.
Here are some essential road safety tips:
- Always wear a seatbelt and ensure that your passengers do so too. Ensure that car seats for children are installed and used correctly.
- Never drink and drive. Statistics reveal that 50% of road deaths result from driving under the influence of alcohol. MiWay clients with MiHelp Roadside Assist automatically receive six free WeDrive trips a year; no activation or upfront costs.
- Avoid driving if you are fatigued. If you drive long distances, be sure to stop and rest. Relax and stretch every two hours or 200km.
- Always obey the speed limit. Speed kills!
- Change lanes only when it is safe to do so and adhere to the rules of the road.
- Avoid being distracted by passengers, mobile phones, etc. The use of a mobile phone while driving is illegal and extremely dangerous.
- Ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy. Service your vehicle at regular intervals with an accredited workshop or dealership and ensure that your vehicles tyres are safe and in a roadworthy condition.
- Maintain a safe following distance of two seconds and keep a safe stopping distance.
- If you break down, turn the hazard lights on immediately, move the car to safety out of the flow of traffic and do not get out of the car unless it is safe to do so. As a MiWay client you can contact Roadside Assistance on 0860076764.
- Switch on your lights. No matter what time of the day or night, always make sure you are visible to other road users.
If you are taking a road trip this Easter holiday, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) says motorists should be aware of potholes and drive with caution. RTMC officials also warn that drivers should be alert to oncoming cars, as they may swerve to avoid potholes and divert into your path.
In the past, the N1, N2 and N3 have reported the highest traffic volumes.
Finally, if you’re planning a night out on the town and don’t feel confident to drive, find a suitable drive-home-assist service. Check if your insurer includes a facility. MiWay provides WeDrive for its motor insurance customers.
WeDrive is available in the following cities: Johannesburg, Polokwane, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. The operational hours are:
- Weekdays, Mondays to Thursday: 16h30 – 03h00 (last bookings by 02h00)
- Weekends, Fridays to Mondays: 16h30 – 03h00 (last bookings by 01h00)
- Calls for collection need to be made by 01h00 over weekends and trips on public holidays need to be booked by 17h00 the day before. Peak times include public holidays (the night before and on the day) and in some instances major public events that happen within the covered areas.
Ensure that you pre-book your drive-home-assist service beforehand to avoid disappointments.
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Keeping everyone safe on the roads is only possible if every individual makes obeying the rules of the road their personal business.
[Suggestions provided by Rory Judd, MiWay Head of Online Marketing / MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970)]
[MiWay Insurance Limited (‘MiWay’) is a direct, short-term insurance company, offering customers a range of short-term insurance products including motor, household and homeowners insurance as well as add-on products such as warranty cover and liability cover. MiWay’s shareholder is Santam, a blue-chip JSE-listed company.]