For the first time in more than a year, many South Africans will taking an Easter vacation away from their homes, travelling again on national roads, and enjoying the wonderful sights the country has to offer. Easter 2021 falls on the first weekend in April with Good Friday being observed on Friday, 2 April, Holiday with an additional public holiday on Monday, 5 April following Easter Sunday.
“The Easter long-weekend has traditionally been disastrous as far as road crashes and road fatalities is concerned. In the last decade, 2469 people have died on the country’s roads over the Easter period. To prevent this annual carnage, road users must be vigilant and focussed when on the roads,” says the AA.
The AA says it is every single road user’s responsibility to be safe on the roads during this long weekend period. It notes, “Just because you’re not driving doesn’t mean you’re not a road user. Passengers, commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, people riding motorbikes, and even people selling products on the road are all road users. Along with electronic devices, drink, drugs and distraction are all dangerous to all road users.”
Ahead of the festive period, the Association offers the following tips for road users:
- 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 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.
In addition, the Association encourages those going on vacation to make the journey part of their trip, and to get off the main roads and to explore South Africa. It says stopping for a night each way of the journey not only breaks a long drive, but also gives everyone a chance to visit and experience some of the history and wonder of South Africa.
But, it says, wherever road users find themselves this festive season, they have to be attentive and careful.
“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. Without a conscious effort by road users to be safe, no actions by the government will ever work,” concludes the AA.