Help Curb Accidents
Vehicle accidents are nevertheless a daily reality on South Africa’s roads, and the N4 is no exception. By far the vast majority – at least 80% – of these accidents is caused by human error. Among the top contributing factors causing human error that have been identified by TRAC is reckless or negligent driving, which includes dangerous or illegal overtaking, disregarding appropriate following distances, aggressive driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Also high on the list is excessive speed, or speed too high for the circumstances, which goes hand in hand with drivers losing control of their vehicles and causing accidents.
Contributing to accidents to a lesser extent but equally fatal is vehicles that are not roadworthy, in other words, unfit to be driven on the road. In this category of accident causes the biggest culprit is tyres that burst because they are too worn or incorrectly inflated. During a special TRAC tyre safety awareness event held near Middelburg in December 2010 an alarming 60% of vehicles tested had tyres that were worn or incorrectly inflated.
According to South Africa’s Road Traffic Management Corporation, it is accepted that 95% or more road traffic accidents happen as a direct result of traffic offences or non-compliance with prescribed norms and standards. And it should be noted that even should a crash result from a tyre burst, which is generally classified under vehicle factors, it still is the responsibility of the driver or owner of the vehicle to see that the worn or damaged tyre is replaced in time to prevent accidents. In case of an accident happening as a result of a pothole in the road or a smooth road surface, which is generally classified under road factors, it is also the responsibility of the driver to reduce speed and drive more carefully under such circumstances.
Seen in light of the above, it becomes obvious that driver and vehicle fitness is the key to safety. Therefore, TRAC advises that you always:
- Inspect your vehicle carefully before a journey, especially tyre condition and pressure, windscreen washers, wiper blades, headlights and indicators;
- Wear a seatbelt – they can save your life;
- Observe and obey road rules, markings, warnings and speed signs;
- Keep to the legal speed limit or best speed for specific conditions;
- Remain at a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you;
- Resist driving when tired because it severely affects concentration and reaction – rest every two hours or 200km; and
- Drive sober – never drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
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