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Tue Dec 06 16:04:05 SAST 2016

Tips on how to stay safe on the road during the Easter holidays

TMG Digital | 2016-03-24 14:30:31.0

Image by: Gallo Images/ IStock

Every Easter hundreds of thousands of people hit the roads‚ impatient to get to their destination‚ but they’re risking their lives.

Last year an average of 57 people died each day on South Africa's roads‚ and deaths were up by 49% on 2014’s figures.

The department of transport said the main causes of accidents are speeding‚ dangerous overtaking‚ drunk-driving‚ fatigue and unroadworthy vehicles.

Here are some life-saving tips on how to avoid becoming a statistic or harming other people:

Stick to the speed limit: Speeding drastically reduces the time you have available to react to a dangerous situation and impairs your ability to steer safely around corners and objects in the road. Statistics from Arrive Alive show that a 10% decrease in speed reduces fatal crashes by 40%.

Overtake safely: Do not overtake on a solid line. When overtaking ensure you have a clear view of oncoming traffic first – and that no one is trying to overtake you. Don’t overtake multiple vehicles in one go.

Don’t drive drunk: Not only is your ability to react severely impaired but so are your decisions and judgements. You may kill other travellers‚ pedestrians and your passengers – and yourself.

If found guilty of drunk driving you could face up to six years in jail‚ a fine of R120 000 and your driver’s licence being suspended. This means you will have a criminal record. The legal blood alcohol limit is less than 0.05g per 100ml and the legal breath alcohol limit is less than 0.24mg in 1000ml of breath.

Fatigue: Fatigue can set in after a long day at work or a late night out. Emotional stress‚ illness‚ boredom and sun glare can also cause fatigue.

Drivers should get at least seven hours sleep before a long trip‚ and avoid travelling during your body’s downtime‚ which is between 2am and 6am.

If you find yourself battling to keep your eyes open‚ day dreaming‚ or swaying across the road‚ find a safe place to stop and rest‚ or let another driver takeover.

Maintain your car: Driving a car that is not properly maintained could also put you‚ and others‚ at risk. Make sure your tyres are in good condition (and that you have a spare wheel and equipment to change a tyre).

“Remember that just because you abide by the rules of the road‚ doesn’t mean other drivers do too. Always be alert and practice defensive driving techniques‚” says Auto & General’s Tania Joffe.

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