Drive Safe and Report Bad Driving
There are over 12 million cars on South African roads. That’s a lot of moving vehicles to keep an eye on as you make your way to your destination.
The possibility of being involved in a car accident is also very high, with over half-a-million collisions occurring each year.
However, you can limit your chances of being involved in a crash by simply incorporating a few simple techniques:
- Be Aware
- Know How to React
- Check Your Stance
This rule applies from the moment you get into your car. Even before you start reversing out of your driveway, you need to pay close attention to your surroundings.
- Focus on your driving and nothing else. Put away your cellphone and turn down the volume on your radio. As much as you need to see what’s happening around you, you also need to listen.
- Try not to have a conversation while driving. Even though your eyes are on the road, your mind is entirely focused. This makes it more difficult for you to react quickly and effectively in case of an imminent accident.
- Pay attention to the road signs along the way. Warning signs (such as signs for roaming wild animals or a nearby pedestrian crossing) and speed markers are extremely important and help you be a more responsible driver.
- Be alert at all times. Use your indicators to make it easier for those around you to anticipate your next move.
- Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the area surrounding your car.
- If you feel drowsy, find a safe place to stop and wait until you feel more awake. Alternatively, ask someone else to drive for a while.
- Instead of just focusing on what’s directly in front of you, you also need to scan the road ahead for any possible dangers. This will give you a few more precious seconds to react and possibly avoid danger.
The majority of car accidents are easily avoidable. However, due to human error, many drivers find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to deal with a bumper bashing or other minor incidents. Being proactive in your own driving could make a huge difference.
- Give yourself more than enough time to get to your destination. Being in a rush often adds to the stress of driving.
- Keep your distance. Should the person in front of you suddenly hit the brakes, that little extra distance gives you more time to react and avoid collision.
- Observe right of way. Knowing who gets to cross an intersection first is crucial, but many accidents occur due to drivers not knowing who has right of way. If you’re unsure when to yield to other drivers, you can refresh your memory by reading the K53 Drivers Licence manual again.
- Be patient. Even when you’re in a hurry, you have to give other drivers right of way when it’s their turn.
- If you come across a driver not heeding the rules of the road, rather let them go. It’s always better to steer clear of reckless drivers.
- Anticipate what other drivers could possibly do. While you can’t read their minds, you can use their behaviour as a gauge. Stuck behind a brake-happy driver? Then keep your distance just to be safe.
- Stick to the speed limits. Just because someone behind you may be speeding doesn’t mean they can force you to.
- Be considerate. If you’re holding up traffic, and there’s another lane, rather stick to the left lane and allow the faster drivers to pass on the right.
- Always indicate well in advance. If you want to turn, make sure the driver behind you has ample time to slow down by using your indicators. This also means you have to ensure all your lights are working at all times.
- Adjust to the condition of the road. If it’s raining or the roads are wet and slippery, slow down. If there’s heavy fog, turn on your lights and, in extreme conditions, your hazards as well. If road conditions feel too dangerous, rather pull over and wait things out.
- Report any issues on the road to your local municipality, such as faulty traffic lights, dangerous potholes or objects in the road.
CHECK YOUR STANCE
No matter what kind of situation you find yourself in, it’s imperative to remain calm. Regardless of what other drivers around you are doing.
REPORT BAD DRIVING
Should you come across a case of bad driving – whether it’s speeding, swerving between lanes, negligent behaviour or a car that doesn’t seem roadworthy – you can report these drivers to the authorities. However, whatever you do, do not try and take a photo or video of the driver with your phone while driving. Rather memorise the registration number, or ask a passenger to take photos instead.
National Traffic Call Centre (NTCC):
Call 0861 400 800
You need to provide the following information when reporting a driver:
- The province in which the offence occurred as well as the name of the city or town.
- The name of the street and/or junction where the offence took place.
- If you’re on a highway, you should provide the number of the road (N1, N3, R54, etc.) as well as the nearest town or suburb.
- The direction in which the driver was going. This could either be North, East, South or West, or, if you’re unsure, you can simply say “the driver was driving toward X”.
- The day, date and time of the offence.
- Details of the vehicle involved including the model, brand, colour and registration number.
- Detail of the incident. For example: the driver was driving at excessive speeds in a 60 km/h zone, the driver overtook on a solid line, the driver ignored a red traffic light, etc.
If you witness an accident, it’s important to report the incident immediately. You also need to remain at the scene and provide your contact details as you are now a witness which could assist police in their investigation.
You can also report any irresponsible or dangerous driving to Arrive Alive via their online submission form.
Dangerous road conditions can also be reported here.
Sources: Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) | Arrive Alive | Stats SA