The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) is urging all drivers and road users to exercise restraint and avoid drinking and driving during this November/December holiday and festive season to further minimise fatalities on South African roads.
According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), research shows that drunk driving accounts for 27.1% of fatal crashes in the country and estimated to cost the local economy R18.2 billion annually. The research also highlighted that 55% of fatal crashes happened at night and about three out of five (5) happened over a weekend.
Ms. Viviene Pearson, the SAIA CEO, says “Road safety is a major challenge in South Africa – one that requires a multisectoral, multigovernmental approach that is evidence-based to reduce this increasing burden. An important aspect of this approach is that humans make mistakes, but these mistakes do not, and should not, result in a fatality or a serious injury on the road.”
Ms. Pearson, says all road users must take caution as we approach the festive season period, to curb fatalities on the road by planning their road trips ahead of time, ensuring that their vehicle is in a good (road worthy) condition to travel long distances, as well as getting enough rest or sleep before embarking on the journey. However, if not traveling far, but know that you will have dinner with drinks, do not drive. Leave your car at home and call an e-hailing service or use an option that may be included in some insurance policies where you can access a “drive me home” service after an event.
“Preparation minimises doubts and surprises – avoid the pressure and guilt as a result of half thought through decisions and their consequences such as accidents, arrests, bail, car towing or impound costs, court costs, legal fees, higher insurance premiums or worse lose your job because of a drunk driving record and this is just the beginning of a long list.”
SAIA advises policyholders to utilise “drive home services” if offered as part of their policy cover. This is a value add offered by most of SAIA members. This service can be booked well in advance, ensuring that you and your car get home safely. There are also e-hailing services available as an option should you not be able to drive.
“We urge all road users to obey traffic laws and to be vigilant on the roads this festive season to ensure their safety, their families’ and that of other road users. We wish all road users a safe and happy holiday,” said Ms. Pearson.
SAIA advises road users to make sure that they have adequate insurance cover and shares the following tips to ensure road users travel safely:
- Make certain that your insurance premiums are up to date.
- Keep your policy number and 24hr road assistance number handy in case of an emergency (insurers usually provide you a sticker to place on your drive side).
- Travel during the day and rest in between trips at night.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Do not text or talk on your cell phone while driving.
- Keep a safe driving distance.
- Keep to the road speed limits, remember ‘’Speed Kills’.
- Be on the lookout for pedestrians or obstacles on the road.
- Remember to advise your insurance company if you are travelling outside of South Africa.
- Make certain that your vehicle is roadworthy, and tyres are in good condition.
- Check if your spare wheel is in good condition and that you have a wheel-spanner and jack.
- Check if your wipers are in good working order.
- Rest after every two hours of driving or have an alternative driver to share the driving burden.