A road hazard often found on South African roads is the presence of animals next to and on the road. Not only do we have an abundance of wildlife – but unfortunately also a shortage of safe fences next to the road. Many of these fences have been stolen and used elsewhere and we have had calls from provincial government to the public not to destroy or remove fences.
Earlier today it was reported on the Arrive Alive website that a 34-year-old credit analyst died at around midnight on Sunday when he drove into a stray bull at Nyaninga, between Tongaat and Verulam.
Insurance companies have spent millions on damage caused by animals to the vehicles of clients. Even a small animal can cause much damage to the vehicle and threaten the life of the unsuspecting motorist. There is no foolproof way to keep animals away from the roads. Hoofed mammals that stand high on their legs, such as cattle, horses and antelope such as kudu pose the most danger to vehicle occupants. If they are hit they can roll onto the bonnet and into the windshield or roof, resulting in extensive damage and serious or fatal injury. Due to their height, their eyes are above most headlight beams.
We would like to quote a few suggestions from the Arrive Alive website that could assist in protecting motorists:
- Take special care near animal crossing warning signs or signs warning of the absence of fences. The signs are there for a reason.
- Minimize your distractions from passengers, food, and accessories like cell phones. If your full attention is on the road, you’ll be more likely to spot approaching animals with your peripheral vision.
- Get in the habit of scanning the roadside as you drive.
- Vigilance is the first and best defense, especially when driving on unfamiliar rural roads. Ask passengers to help by scanning both sides of the roadway.
- If you see one animal, expect that there are others nearby.
- Use your high beams whenever possible. They will give you more time to spot and react to animals in the road.
- Always obey the speed limit and wear safety belts.
- To protect themselves, defensive drivers adapt their speed to conditions and keep alert for wildlife.
- Slowing down a little gives you and the animal more time to react – Be especially cautious at night.
View more advice and suggestions on the Arrive Alive website about Avoiding Animals on the Road