Drivers need to be mentally and physically ready to drive long distance
Cape Town - DRIVERS have been urged to be both mentally and physically prepared to drive long distances, particularly over the busy festive season.
The South African Roads Agency (Sanral) said fatigue, excessive speeding and reckless overtaking are often the main contributing factors to incidents on the N1 between Laingsburg and Beaufort West.
“We appeal to road users, particularly in the long-distance bus and taxi sector, as well as heavy-vehicle operators to ensure they are both mentally and physically prepared, as well as ensuring that their vehicles are roadworthy. Road users should always exercise caution when travelling on any road, adhering to the rules of the road, particularly the speed limits and taking regular breaks when travelling long distances,” said Sanral Western region manager Randall Cable.
In the Western Cape, Sanral manages the N1, N2 and N7, which are all popular holiday destination routes and as such could experience congestion during peak travel times.
“The Huguenot Tunnel, both inbound and outbound, also experiences exceptionally high traffic volumes at the start of the festive season and road users are asked to be patient during this time,” said Cable.
Last year for the period from January to December, 12 503 fatalities were recorded. Which was a 3% decrease from 2018. The most affected road users were pedestrians and passengers.
A total of 108 major crashes were reported with 688 people killed and 774 people sustained injuries in the major crashes.
In 2018 the Eastern Cape had 1320 fatal crashes and in 2019 it remained the same. Free State had 711 in 2018 and last year 642, Gauteng had 2267 in 2018 and 2180 in 2019. KwaZulu Natal had 2097 in 2018 and 2012 last year. Limpopo also decreased from 1206 to 1132 in 2019. Mpumalanga increased from 1048 to 1064 last year. Northern Cape also saw an increase from 260 to 316. North West decreased from 770 to 702. Western Cape increased from 885 to 1013 in last year.
Data from Sanral indicated that the most fatal crashes experienced were from Friday to Monday for 2018 and 2019.
Details showed that 25% of the crashes occurred on a Saturday followed by Sunday with 22%.
Cape Town Traffic Services spokesperson, Maxine Bezuidenhout said roadworks are generally stopped over the holiday period unless the work being completed is of a critical nature that cannot wait.
“Road users should have their wits about them always, irrespective of the road or area they are travelling in. The City has a comprehensive Festive Season plan each year, which includes an emphasis on road safety through high visibility patrols, vehicle checkpoints, roadblocks, speed trapping and other education and awareness initiatives,” said Bezuidenhout.
This year also Operation Exodus, which focuses on driver and vehicle fitness in the long-distance public transport sector, to ensure that passengers make it to and from their destination safely.
She said roads that are usually congested during the festive season are routes leading to, and around shopping malls and public amenities like beaches and other popular spots.
“The management of traffic congestion forms part of the City’s Festive Season plan,” said Bezuidenhout.
Provincial traffic spokesperson Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka said a detailed plan for this festive season will be revealed by during the Festive Season Launch on a date to be communicated.