Easter weekend road safety load shedding road safety traffic power outage.

Photo: Adobe Stock

Easter weekend: Here’s how to stay safe on the road this long weekend

It’s that time of the year, folks.

Easter weekend road safety load shedding road safety traffic power outage.

Photo: Adobe Stock

Road safety should be your priority over the Easter weekend. Arrive Alive calls on South Africans to remain vigilant this weekend and prevent Easter joy from turning into Easter horror.

Many South Africans will be taking an Easter vacation away from their homes, travelling again on national roads, and enjoying the wonderful sights the country has to offer. That is if we don’t go into lockdown before then.

Here’s how to stay safe on the road.

Easter weekend road safety

Arrive Alive said Easter weekend “has traditionally been disastrous as far as road crashes and road fatalities is concerned”.

“In the last decade, 2 469 people have died on the country’s roads over the Easter period.”

The prevent “this annual carnage” this Easter weekend Arrive Alive calls on users to “be vigilant and focused when on the roads” by following these guidelines.

  •  Rest before travel. Do not make a journey – especially a long journey – if you are tired. While on the road, stop every two hours or 200 kilometres to stretch, and get fresh air.
  • Put all non-essential electronic devices away. If you are driving with a cellphone, use it only when you have to, not when you want to. Don’t text and drive.
  • Ensure everyone in the vehicle wears their seatbelt, drive to the conditions of the road, and obey all the rules of the road.
  • Be courteous to other drivers.
  • The speed limit is not a target to be attained. Respect it.
  • Don’t overtake when it is illegal or unsafe to do so.
  • If you are a cyclist or riding a motorbike, also make yourself visible and ensure all protective clothing (including the helmet) are in a good condition,
  • If you are a pedestrian, walk where it is safe, and also make yourself as visible as possible. Wear reflective vests, sashes or other items of clothing to make yourself stand out (especially at night on dimly or badly lit roads).
  • Drink or drive.
  • Respect traffic law enforcement, they are there to ensure your and other road users’ safety.
  • Enjoy your drive and arrive safely at your destination.
  • Whether you’re an AA Member or not, download the AA app to ensure fast, reliable and secure service when you are on the road, not only from a vehicle point of view but also in terms of personal security through AA Armed Response.

“South Africa has an horrendous road safety record, and it doesn’t get better annually. While there are many things the government must do to improve road safety it’s also the responsibility of road users to play their role”.

Driver fatigue: What you need to know

There are many contributing factors. Stress, lack of sleep, a long day at work, and long-distance driving all play a part, as well as overindulging in food and drink, sun glare and the heat.

“Without a conscious effort by road users to be safe, no actions by the government will ever work”.

Lookout for the following signs

  • Persistent yawning
  • struggling to keep your eyes open
  • impatience and loss of motivation
  • sore muscles, stiffness and cramps
  • slower reaction times
  • drowsiness

Beating driving fatigue

  • There are no quick fixes. Coffee, energy drinks and other boosters only go so far. The only way to address driver fatigue is by sleeping.
  • When travelling long-distance, pull over every two hours or every 200 kilometres to stretch your legs, have something to eat or drink and rest.
  • If possible, share the responsibility with other drivers and take turns.
  • This should go without saying but don’t drink alcohol before hitting the road.
  • If possible, avoid travelling at night, or at times when you would normally be sleeping. Your body’s internal clock is not going to be happy.
  • Get enough sleep before driving down to the coast or going on a cross-country road trip.

General road rules to follow

  • Wear a seatbelt
  • Don’t text or take phone calls
  • obey the laws of the road
  • Stick to major routes or roads
  • Don’t get stranded without fuel
  • Ensure a close friend or family member knows where you are head. (Google Maps’ location sharing and apps like Glympse can help with that.)

Watch: How to combat driving fatigue