What are the most likely causes of 4×4 vehicle accidents?
- Most 4×4 accidents take place at high speed on gravel roads and relatively few on rugged 4×4 terrain and routes.
- The most likely contributing factor is incorrect loading. [E.g. roof-rack too heavily loaded making vehicle top heavy. Drivers tend to forget that the type of suspension is correlated to the weight to be placed on the roof-rack]
- This has a big influence on the “roll-over” angle
- 4×4 Drivers tend to drive in 4×2 on a bad gravel road instead of 4×4, which could have provided more control over the vehicle.
- The tyre pressure used on a tarred road is often too high for a gravel road.
- Trailers are often incorrectly loaded with too much weight behind the axle of the trailer. The trailer may then “snake” behind the 4×4 vehicle – a danger increased as speed is increased.
- Water hazards are not properly monitored and water finds its way to the engine.
- Remember the golden rule- “If you can’t walk it, you can’t drive it”
- Too many drivers drive through what they perceive to be shallow but fast flowing water and are pushed off low water bridges!
- Normal road tyres are used in tough 4×4 conditions with mud, sand and snow and do not provide enough grip to the 4×4.
- Drivers without sufficient 4×4 training and experience do not know how to use the clutch in rough terrain and emergency situations.
- Equipment and luggage not properly secured cause many injuries and damage on 4×4 terrain and in accidents.
A huge problem in South Africa is that 4×4 training has in the past not been regulated and many insurers might be under the wrong impression that the driver of the 4×4 vehicle they insure is properly trained to drive such a vehicle on a 4×4 terrain. We would like to briefly summarize this scenario:
4×4 Driver training in South Africa
Herewith some info on 4×4 driver training in South Africa pre 1 January 2010:
There was no regulated and standardized 4×4 training in South Africa, which meant that anyone who considered himself a competent 4×4 driver could have operated a 4×4 driving academy. There was quite a few of them who have trained people and issued certificates accordingly. When the4x4 drivers then go to their brokers or insurance companies to insure their 4×4’s, most of the insurance companies asked for proof of training. This certificate meant cheaper premiums and maybe other benefits…
However there were also the 4×4 owners who designed their own certificates and also those who knew someone with a 4×4 academy and organized themselves a 4×4 certificate without any training done. A lot of 4×4 drivers believed that they are competent enough and don’t need any training. All this implies that no 4×4 certificate issued before the 1st of January 2010 was verifiable and in some cases not even traceable to a specific 4×4 training institution.
Regulated 4×4 training and accreditation
After many years of hard work by NOW (National Off-road Workgroup) and negotiations with all the role players in the 4×4 industry, 2 unit standards for 4×4 and off-road training was registered last year and all training under this unit standards are now governed by SAQA The South African Qualifications Authority & TETA, the Transport and Education Training Authority.
This means that accredited 4×4 driver training, quad bike, off-road motorcycle training can only be given by an accredited service provider, who have qualified instructors/facilitators and assessors. After a learner has completed the training and assessment process and his portfolio of evidence (POE) was moderated the results are submitted to TETA who will then issue an off-road driver certificate.
To accommodate the 4×4 owners and off-road drivers who have obtained a certificate prior to the new system, there is a system called the RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) programme, where applicants can submit proof of their prior learning and experience, which will be assessed and if found sufficient a certificate can be issued, if not the member can be asked to be formally assessed without attending the full learning program.
The purpose of this new training programme is to make sure that 4×4 drivers are trained on a standardised and regulated system, to uplift the image of 4×4 drivers and we are sure that in this process we will have a huge positive impact on the insurance industry as well.
AFRICAN OFF-ROAD ACADEMY
We would like to extend a word of appreciation to this training provider for sharing these insights on 4×4 vehicles, training and the safe 4×4 experience!
South Africa’s first ACCREDITED Off- Road training provider under TETA (Transport Education Training Authority) TETA09- 201. AFRICAN OFF-ROAD ACADEMY is accredited to train against the 2 following Unit Standards for 4WD & Off-Road driving:
- US254135 Apply the techniques for operating four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles, in on-road and off-road conditions
- US254154 Apply the advanced techniques for operating four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles, in on-road and off-road conditions
AFRICAN OFF-ROAD ACADEMY is a national provider with approved training facilities and trained facilitators & assessors in all the provinces of South Africa.
For more info, contact