CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The Christmas holidays gone, back-to-work driving is going to be different to previous years as the country battles a second wave of the coronavirus and returns to level three lockdown.
Many companies are still operating remotely but people who do need to travel must think about issues that were not a cause for concern a year ago. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, told The Corner that reduced time on the road, avoiding the temptation emptier roads may present and safe practices particularly in public transport should be at the forefront of minds this January.
”The challenges created by Covid-19 are affecting all spheres of life – including driving habits. Roads might not be so congested but drivers will encounter a new set of challenges.”
Drivers needs to re-acquaint themselves with traffic congestion; if you haven’t driven in congested traffic for a while give yourself time to become used to the road situation. Your driving muscle memory will return quickly but until then don’t take risks: give way to drivers who’ve been on the roads throughout lockdown and the holidays.
You will, unfortunately, be more vulnerable to impatient and potentially aggressive drivers who have driven throughout this period. Many drivers that MasterDrive engaged with during the lockdown report driving slower than normal when returning to the roads, sometimes up to 20km/h slower.
This emphasises the importance of anticipation on the road and making allowances for it. Drivers who do not need to or already have regained their muscle memory should be patient and cautious. Give space to drivers who seem more hesitant than normal while they get into the habit of driving in more congested traffic.
Don’t be tempted into reckless manoeuvres. Despite lockdown, the number of drivers will inevitably increase, especially when students return to school. Speeding, swerving across lanes, driving aggressively and similar driving habits increase the odds of a crash, no matter how many people are on the road.
MasterDrive also urges users of public transport to take no chances. Don’t use transport providers who are not following regulations. Wear your Covid mask and sanitise frequently if using public transport.\
2021 is starting in a way vastly different to previous years but has its own road challenges.