JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Drivers allowed to conduct cross-border deliveries under ”lockdown” edicts might encounter roads that are in worse condition than normal in Africa – especially in countries adjacent to South Africa.
Economic difficulties exist in many places, giving birth to dangerous roads – physical and human – even before the economic downturn of Covid-19.
The MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, warns that defensive driving will be the most important tool in your on-road arsenal against ill-kept and dangerous roads.
“Ensuring that you don’t stray from your defensive driving habits will help you to identify dangerous situations, give you more time to respond, and supply the skill to choose the best course of action to avoid a crash.”
The following suggestions might also help you to travel safely outside of South Africa:
- Check your vehicle before leaving – have all necessary maintenance and servicing done before setting off on a long journey – and before you return.
- Keep an eye on things such as water and oil levels throughout the trip.
- Obey speed limits so you have enough time to stop or avoid obstacles.
- If conditions are bad – mist, rain, lots of potholes – travel below the posted speed limit.
- Keep your headlights on.
- Avoid night driving: it will be more difficult to spot problems and you are likely to encounter derelict vehicles.
- Pay attention if road signs warn of obstacles such as potholes and adjust your driving to suit.
- In rural areas watch out for roaming animals. If there is a sign warning of animals, slow down – even if you can’t see any.
- Plan your route according to your fuel supply and distance to the next service station.
- Be competent to drive on gravel, sand, and tar.
- Keep all required documents close to hand. Zimbabwe, in particular, has a reputation for having many police roadblocks and subsequent fines (read bribes) for not meeting regulations – real or imagined.
- African countries have a bad reputation for road maintenence. As Herbert warns: “Some countries may have roads very similar to South Africa; others are in desperate need of repair.*
”This creates driving challenges for which you should be prepared as one of the few individuals allowed to cross the border right now.”
*South Africa is rapidly becoming one.