JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – There’s continuing havoc across South Africa with strikes, looting and rioting affecting road users in a number of cities and towns.
Recent criminality in Tshwane included looting – apparently of foreign-owned businesses – and the situations made road-users seek alternative routes, cancel trips, and miss meetings. So, what to do if you find yourself trapped in a mob of rioters and looters?
Here are some tips from the managing director of driver-instruction organisation MasterDrive…
• Your primary consideration is your personal safety
• The simplest way to remain safe is to avoid street violence – take a different route
• Listen to news broadcasts, check alerts on social media, before choosing a route
• Look out for people gathering along the road or on bridges
• Focus you road-attention at least 12 seconds ahead to identify a volatile situation
• As you are driving, look ahead for possible escape routes – just in case
• If you’re caught in a dangerous situation release you seatbelt, ready for a quick exit – though remember that staying in your car might be the safer option
• Do not engage rioters (aka protestors) negatively
• Remain calm if you have to flee from violence. Driving aggressively does not account for other road users and, MasterDrive says, ”could be more dangerous than acting calmly and slowly”
• Listen to authority figures who should have training in defusing violent situations
• While it is preferable that your car does not get damaged, if you need to choose between the two, personal safety should be prioritised
• Use your cellphone to inform people where you are and what is happening
If you ever find yourself in this frightening situation, remaining calm is vital. Herbert says: “The objective is to avoid the situation completely. Never let a potentially dangerous situation catch you by surprise or block yourself in when things can turn violent.
”South African drivers should be prepared for every eventuality.”
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TH E CORNER also suggests drivers (and their passengers) scan ahead for trouble, particularly when approaching a bridge where rioters might be lurking with rocks or other missiles. Scan vehicles around or near you and be prepared to take sudden evasive action.
A rock through the windscreen could be fatal.