Traffic authorities in KwaZulu-Natal have identified accident-prone areas and have encouraged extra vigilance by motorists over the festive season and beyond.
The R102 between Empangeni and Mount Edgecombe, the N3 at Van Reenen’s Pass, the N2 from Stanger into the city, the Higginson Highway off-ramp (off the N2 southbound) and the N2 from Port Shepstone via Harding to Kokstad were all identified as the stretches of highway and freeway with the largest numbers of fatalities in the province.
The data was collected by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) between the beginning of January 2008 and the end of December 2010 and show that, nationally, most people who lost their lives during this period were killed in accidents along the N2 between East London and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.
The RTMC’s spokesman, Ashref Ismail, said high speeds played a “huge role” in the number of accidents on these roads.
“There are also many head-on collisions in these areas,” he said, adding that fatigue, vehicle fitness and alcohol abuse also contributed.
Pedestrians had become victims too, when they jaywalked on these roads, said Ismail. “Sometimes they are drunk or not visible, or both.”
Nationally there were 1 484 fatal crashes on South Africa’s roads last year; the corporation is still in the process of collating the numbers for this year’s statistics.
“We usually allow for a 30-day window before we record the total number of fatalities in a particular accident – some people die on the scene while others die in hospital later,” he said.
Ismail urged motorists to obey all the rules of the road.
“It might seem obvious, but what we find year after year is that common sense is not very common, especially on our roads,” he said.
Motorists needed to keep to the speed limit and remember the three Ps: patience, preparation and politeness.
“Some incidents are motivated by road rage and motorists using their vehicles carelessly,” Ismail said.
According to the Department of Transport, from December 1, 2011 to January 1, 2012, KwaZulu-Natal recorded 256 fatal crashes, more than any other province.
Meanwhile, motorists have been warned to take extra precautions on wet roads, as more rain is expected during the festive season.
Launching the provincial government’s public awareness disaster and risk mitigation campaign at Adams Mission south of Durban yesterday, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube said people should avoid taking unnecessary trips.
“We are not in any way discouraging people from touring around our majestic province this summer.
“We are just saying we need, around this coming holiday period, people to avoid taking long and non-crucial trips,” she said.
“If you want to be holidaying in Durban, from Joburg, for instance, try to leave Gauteng early.”
Dube said motorists should drive during the day, because visibility at night was even worse if it was raining.
“We are saying the manner in which we are adding our voice to the campaigns to reduce road deaths is by alerting drivers that there is likely to be bad weather, and accidents are more prevalent in such adverse weather conditions,” she said.
With the possibility of more thunder storms over the next few weeks, Dube said those outdoors should take the necessary precautions to avoid being struck by lightning.