JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – During the Christmas holiday period 2019-2020 about 1600 people were killed by road crashes on South Africa’s roads.
Nunben Dixon, head of Gumtree Automotive, said in a media release that 600 of those died because of ”road-rage”incidents – though The Corner finds it hard to understand how that was calculated.
Whatever Dixon suggests his simple defensive driving tips describe below might help travellers to stay safe on the roads. The Corner has added comments, too…
Maintain a vigilant focus and keep your cool: Distracted driving – tuning the radio or aircon, conversations with passengers, or texting/answering a phone call are each listed as causing crashes and collisions.
Dixon reverts to ”road rage”: ”If another driver thinks he or she has right-of-way though gesture or threatening driving just let them overtake. ”It’s better to lose time than to get involved in a collision.”
Slow down and keep a safe following distance: Speeding is extremely dangerous. The faster you travel, the longer it takes to stop. Hitting a pothole, animal – (or indeed a human, The Corner adds) – crossing the road can cause catastrophic damage.
It’s even more ”catastrophic” for the creature being hit – so slow down and maintain a safe following distance.
How to avoid and respond to hydroplaning: Rain – particularly after a long dry weather period – can be lethal because the water lifts rubber and oil to the surface of the Tarmac, which makes the road greasy.
Pooled water can also hide potholes: once again, Dixon says, reduce speed, turn off cruise control, and extend your following distance. Hydroplaning occurs when your vehicle’s tyres cannot displace sufficient water from the road, especially during braking; they lose contact, which costs the driver control.
“Don’t slam the brakes or swerve,” Dixon rightly suggests. ”Overreaction can cause loss of control – and perhaps a crash. Wait for the skid to stop, brake gently, and return to course. Keep both hands firmly on the steering-wheel.”
Know how to crash: If an impact is unavoidable, take your hands off the steering wheel, put them on your thighs to avoid impact with the facing or side crash-mitigation bags, head firmly back against the head restraint.
Take you feet off the pedals to avoid broken feet or legs as they push into the cabin.
Passengers (assuming each has been sensible enough to wear their crash restraint), should also put their hands on the seat and everybody should close their eyes against flying glass.