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South Africans spend a lot of time on the road. Whether travelling to and from work in a car, commuting via public transport, riding a bike, or as pedestrians – we’re on the road every day. This is one of the main reasons why we need to work towards fostering mutual respect and responsibility on the road during our travels.

It all starts with you – and this is why we’re giving you five tips to make our roads safer.

Don’t use your cellphone while travelling. This is by far the easiest to implement, but also the most ignored of all. Whether you’re driving or walking, put your phone away and concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re on the road, look out for cars, cyclists, motorcycles and pedestrians, especially at night. Look out for objects lying on the road such as shredded tyres or items that have fallen off the back of bakkies and trucks.

Pay attention when you’re behind the wheel. Distracting behaviours include applying your make-up, eating or changing radio stations. Check your blind spots, especially when changing lanes.

Respect the speed limits. In general, they are 60 km/h on urban roads; 80 km/h on rural roads and 120 km/h on highways. Ignoring the speed limit doesn’t only put your and other peoples’ lives at risk, but your speed can affect your reaction time, like when you need to brake suddenly.

Be smart, don’t take silly risks. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, not wearing a seatbelt (yes, even if you are a passenger), and not using child car seats or child restraints are all risks you know about, and should not be ignoring. It’s not worth it.

General tips for road users:

As pedestrians

Walk on the pavement rather than on the road.

Wear brightly coloured clothing (or high visibility sashes or jackets) for better visibility, especially at night.

Avoid wearing earphones or texting while you’re walking.

Be alert: know what is going on around you in terms of cars, people, etc.

Only cross a road at a designated road crossing and when it’s safe to do so.

As motorcyclists

Wear a properly fitted helmet and proper gear for your ride. (ATGATT – all the gear, all the time!)

Focus on the road ahead to anticipate obstacles such as potholes, speed bumps, stationary cars or vehicles that brake suddenly.

Increase your visibility by wearing a brightly coloured vest and be vigilant of vehicles that may not be able to see you in their mirrors.

Avoid wearing earphones, as you need your ears on full alert.

Obey the rules of the road, like adhering to speed limits.

As motorists

Maintain the speed limit and drive to the conditions of the road.

Maintain focus and avoid distractions like cellphones.

Be sure to pay special attention to your blind spots.

Do not engage in secondary activities while driving such.

Wear your seatbelt, even for short journeys.

As commuters

When disembarking make sure it is safe to do so, and only once the vehicle has come to a complete stop. Always pass behind the vehicle instead of the front where your view of oncoming traffic is obstructed.

Make use of marked pick-up and drop-off points.

Don’t distract the driver.

Making our South African roads safer is about being patient and having consideration for fellow road users.

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