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According to statistics from the Road Traffic Management Corporation, there were over 300 fatalities on South African roads during the 2015 Easter period, and over 1 200 vehicle crashes during the 2015/2016 December festive season. These alarming statistics highlights the fact that there generally is an increased number of serious accidents on the country’s roads during holiday periods when there are more vehicles on the road, as many citizens make their way to a holiday destination.
Nazeer Hoosen, CEO of PPS Short-Term Insurance, says that it is extremely important for consumers to ensure that they practice safer driving behaviour and are more vigilant while on the roads over the Easter period. “Motorists need to take the necessary precautions to avoid being involved in a vehicle accident while traveling to their holiday destination.”
Hoosen provides the following tips for motorists to keep in mind in an effort to lessen their chances of being involved in an accident:
Drive slower and with more caution
It is very important to drive at a slower and safer pace when the road is busy. Motorists should take greater travelling time into account and be increasingly patient as it is likely to take them longer to reach their destination than they might have anticipated. Impatience may cause the driver to take chances when trying to overtake slower driving vehicles, which is extremely dangerous for everybody on the road.
Turn on the headlights
Motorists should switch on headlights in the event of experiencing light rain, foggy or overcast conditions while on the road. This will help the motorists to see and be seen by other drivers and improve overall safety.
Be sure to check tyre traction before embarking on the journey
Tyres with a low or illegal tread significantly reduces the vehicle’s traction and makes the vehicle susceptible to hydroplaning on a wet road. It is also important that tyres are properly inflated and that the pressure is checked before the motorist leaves for a long drive. The correct air pressure for tyres is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and can usually be found on the inside edge of the vehicle’s door or in the owner’s manual.
Hoosen also provides some advice for motorists who might be involved in or witness the unfortunate event of an accident on their journey:
Analyse the situation
Should the motorist be involved in or witness an accident, the vehicle should be stopped immediately and the driver, passengers or bystanders should check for injuries and fatalities, as well as damage to any third party. Once the wellbeing of those involved is established, it is important to call the police and other emergency services to inform them that an accident has occurred. Until the police arrive it is crucial that any vehicles involved in the accident are not moved and, if possible, anyone with injuries is also not moved.
Obtain all the relevant information
It is also important to stay calm during this time and obtain as many details as possible from the other parties involved. These details include: the make, model and registration of the vehicle, as well as the driver or owner of the vehicle, including their identity number, telephone numbers, postal address, email address, employer and insurance company details.
It is advisable to take photos of the scene before the car is towed away, with a particular focus on the damaged vehicles and property as evidence for insurance claims.
Report the accident to the relevant parties
It is essential to report the accident to the nearest police station and provide your insurance provider with full details of the accident including the Accident Report number obtained from the police. Do keep emergency numbers at hand at all times as some insurance providers offer 24/7/365 Roadside and Home assistance as a benefit.
“By taking action and conducting proper safety checks and inspecting whether the vehicle is in a full roadworthy condition, motorists can ensure their own and their passengers’ safety and also protect themselves against an insurance claim repudiation should an accident occur due to an unroadworthy vehicle,” concludes Hoosen.