South Africans have already started their festive season travel, with traffic volumes already showing signs of intensifying as holidaymakers head out for their holidays season.
Yesterday marked the start of the long weekend and the festive holiday for most South Africans after President Cyril Ramaphosa last month declared December 15 a special public holiday to celebrate the Springboks’ record fourth Rugby World Cup victory.
N3 Toll Concession operations manager Thania Dhoogra indicated that traffic was expected to increase on Thursday afternoon, with many vehicles travelling in a southbound direction to KwaZulu-Natal.
“Motorists should expect a mix of vehicle types on the route. With an increase in public transport vehicles, more trucks are likely to continue to follow typical weekday patterns,“ she said.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has urged motorists and other road users who will be travelling to various destinations this long weekend to check the weather forecast before embarking on their journeys and to avoid travelling at night where possible.
This comes after various parts of the country have experienced wet weather in recent weeks.
“December period is generally characterised by summer rainfall in South African and motorists should make sure that their vehicles have properly functioning windscreen wipers and that brakes and tyres are in good condition,” RTMC said on Wednesday.
The agency said its own analysis showed that fatal crashes increase dramatically between 7pm and 11pm, with pre-dawn travel also cited as dangerous as the data shows that there is a high number of crashes between 1am and 3am.
“Road crashes are particularly high on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Motorists are called upon to exercise extreme caution when travelling on these days.
“Considering the high number of vehicles on the road at this time of the year, motorists are advised to add at least an hour to their travelling time for possible delays,“ RTMC said.
To avoid incidents of crime, RTMC has also warned motorists to refrain from giving lifts to hitch-hikers who could pose a danger into their lives.
“Motorists are advised to refrain from giving lifts to hitch-hikers as this can lead to hijackings or attacks on motorists. Be responsible. That’s the call to motorists and commuters travelling out of Gauteng this festive season.“
The warnings by RTMC comes on the same day as the Gauteng Transport Department launched its road safety campaign under the theme #Fatela, aimed at reducing road deaths this holidays.
On Thursday, Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga also led the country’s national Festive Season Road Safety Awareness Campaign at the Sanral Mariannhill Toll Plaza on the N3 in Pinetown.
The minister said the festive season road safety awareness campaign is aimed at prioritising and promoting safer road usage during the high peak season on South African roads.
“The objective of the campaign is not only to ensure smooth flows of traffic, but also to prevent negligent and reckless driving which could result in road crashes, injuries and fatalities,” she said.