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Driver error linked to high number of single-vehicle crashes: N3 Toll Concession

The N3TC said driver error has been linked to the high number of single-vehicle crashes along the N3 Toll Route from January to October. File Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

The N3TC said driver error has been linked to the high number of single-vehicle crashes along the N3 Toll Route from January to October. File Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 13, 2021


CAPE TOWN - The N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) said its latest review of recent traffic and crash data revealed that the high number of single-vehicle crashes on the N3 are directly linked to driver error.

N3TC manages a 415km section of the N3 Toll Route between Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal and Heidelberg in Gauteng.

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The company has encouraged drivers to take the necessary steps to keep themselves and others safe on the road this festive season.

The N3 Toll Route is one of South Africa’s key transport corridors for freight and logistics, but it is an equally important tourism route linking travellers from Gauteng to the many varied holiday destinations in Mpumalanga, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.

As a result, high traffic volumes and additional road safety pressures are the order of the day, especially during peak periods.

N3TC said it was therefore the duties of traffic management, law enforcement and road users to carefully plan and prepare for seasonal traffic highs and take additional precautions to ensure increased vigilance and safety along the N3.

N3TC said a concerning high number of single-vehicle crashes had been recorded on the N3 Toll Route. That meant the crashes were directly linked to human error and/or driver negligence.

It said most of the crashes recorded on the N3 Toll Route between January and December were due to human error.

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Of the number of crashes during tats period, 71% of light-vehicle crashes and 80% of heavy motor vehicle (truck) crashes were directly related to driver error.

Vehicle failure was the second-highest contributing factor to crashes during the same period along the route.

Poorly maintained vehicles, which led to tyre bursts or mechanical or brake failure, resulted in 13% of light motor vehicles and 17% of all truck crashes.

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The N3TC said crashes caused by the driver were mostly attributed to poor decision making, misjudgements, dangerous or illegal manoeuvres, failure to recognise potential threats, inattention, driver fatigue, distraction, poor driving skills, speeding and/or the inability to control the vehicle.

During the first 10 months of 2021, 45% of the crashes recorded were single vehicle crashes. In most cases, drivers lost control of their vehicles because they were speeding.

N3TC transport engineer Miles le Roux said that at high speeds, even the slightest distraction or unexpected occurrence on the road could cause drivers to lose control.

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More than 80% of crashes on the route occurred in clear weather, with only 11.5% of occurring in wet weather and 6.3%attributed to poor visibility as a result of misty or overcast conditions.

“As South Africa enters the festive period, and traffic volumes are expected to reach similar peaks as that recorded during the pre-Covid19 holiday seasons, it is worthwhile reminding drivers that it is first and foremost their responsibility to take care of themselves and their passengers.

“Only they can decide to make responsible choices; to abide by the existing traffic laws and speed limits; to deploy defensive driving techniques; and to leave nothing to chance when they set out on their road trips,” le Roux said.

The N3TC Route Services who travel the route daily, monitoring route conditions and removing dangerous objects, will be increasing their efforts during the upcoming peak festive season.

However, road users are urged to assist the teams by reporting problems or potentially dangerous situations via the N3TC 24-hour helpline: 0800 63 43 57.

An increase in law enforcement, medical and emergency services will be present along the route to ensure road safety.

The route will also see multiple traffic checkpoints where drug and alcohol screenings will be conducted in addition to driving licence checks and vehicle roadworthiness tests.

“We partner with all the road incident management services to protect road users and enhance the overall safety of the route,” le Roux said.

The construction and rehabilitation work under way along the N3 Toll Route will be suspended from December 14, which will see all lanes open to traffic.

Only essential maintenance work will be conducted during the holiday period and the construction works programme will resume on January 5.

The N3TC said congestion and slow-moving conditions were expected when traffic volumes were high (more than 1 500 vehicles an hour in a particular direction) and route volumes typically increased to between 2 000 and 3 500 vehicles an hour on peak days.

It has urged all road users to follow reputable information sources to stay abreast of conditions, especially traffic updates and alerts on the N3 Toll Route.

Motorists were also encouraged to heed all road warning signs and to involve passengers in contacting the N3TC on Twitter.

Current and verified traffic information can be obtained from the N3TC’s 24-hour helpline: 0800 63 43 57.

The number can also be used for assistance during emergencies or to report any problems while travelling along the N3 between Heidelberg and Cedara.