Make sure your journeys are safe this festive season
As we enter the festive season, many of us will be on the roads heading to holiday spots or visiting family and friends all over the country. A road trip gives holidaymakers the chance to thoroughly enjoy the sights of the Western Cape along its famous scenic routes.
Explore the Western Cape
We want you and your loved ones to be safe on the road this holiday season by using the following safety tips:
Before your trip
- Plan your trips in advance. This allows you time to decide which roads to use and can help you avoid poor weather and high accident zones.
- Have your car serviced by a qualified service mechanic to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy before departure.
- All lights and indicators, windscreen wipers, brakes, steering, exhaust system and tyres should be carefully examined for faults.
- Make sure to rest properly before embarking on a long journey.
On the road
- Have your driver's license with you at all times.
- Always make sure you and your passengers are buckled up. Here's more info on seatbelt safety.
- Always adhere to the speed limit – driving too fast or too slowly can be a potential hazard.
- Keep a safe following distance, this will give you enough time to react in case of an emergency.
- Drive with your lights on - this will help you to be visible to other drivers.
- At night headlights should be dipped well before an approaching vehicle is within range.
- Be courteous towards other road users.
- Drive defensively.
- Only overtake when it is absolutely safe to do so.
- Always check your blind spot before changing lanes, even when driving on a road that seems deserted.
- Always be cautious when approaching a railway crossing. Be sure to slow down and proceed only when it is safe to do so.
- Before undertaking a journey consult your doctor to find out if your medication can cause side effects like drowsiness.
- Stay alert and keep an eye on what's happening around you.
- Always be prepared. Carry an emergency kit with items that would come in handy if you're stranded on the side of the road or involved in a vehicle accident.
- Try to recognise potentially dangerous drivers and pedestrians along the road and keep well clear of them. Find out more on pedestrian safety.
- Be on the lookout for obstructions like potholes or animals, which often stray into the road, especially in rural areas.
- Be cautious when driving alone and avoid stopping in remote areas.
- Remain alert to any areas that might present a threat of criminal activity such as hijackings or smash and grabs.
Things to avoid while driving
- Never drink and drive, statistics indicate that about 50% of road deaths in South Africa are alcohol-related. The blood/alcohol limit for motorists is 0,05 grams per 100ml of blood. Here's what you need to know about the blood/alcohol limit.
- Avoid distractions while driving. For example, never drive while using your cellphone, this will only distract you and cause a lapse in concentration. Rather install a hands-free kit in your car. Find out more.
- Don’t continue your journey if you are feeling tired. Take safety breaks every 2 hours or 200km
- If your visibility is compromised at night, avoid driving after sundown, especially when there are storms or heavy rains.
- Never disobey road signs. Stay within the speed limits at all times.
- Never leave items such as cellphones and wallets in plain sight, unattended, or on the seat of a car. Always place your valuables in the boot of your car.
Other things to take into account
We also encourage you to take the following factors into account when planning your journey to help you reach your destination safely and comfortably:
View our interactive provincial rural road map for information about road conditions and road projects.
Check your licence
You can face hefty penalties if traffic officials find that your licence has expired. Fines for late registration or licensing, according to the National Road Traffic Regulations, are “calculated at one-tenth of the appropriate fees as determined by the MEC of the province concerned”.
Read more about penalties and fines in the Traffic Law Enforcement Offence Code Book.
Don't drink and drive
Ubuthakathi: Alcohol and Roads Don't Mix (Warning: Not for sensitive viewers)
For more road safety tips visit the Safely Home website.
Where do I report bad driving?
- Safely Home Reporter
- National traffic call centre number: 0861 400 800
- Police Flying Squad: 10111
- Ambulance: 10177
- Crime Stop: 08600 10111
- Cellphone Emergency: 112 (MTN, Vodacom and Cell C)
- ER24: 084 124
- Netcare: 082 911
Emergency information and numbers are also available at ArriveAlive.mobi.
Crashes happen when you least expect them, so always wear your seatbelt, keep your tyres properly inflated and drive at a safe following distance. And remember, drinking and driving is illegal and dangerous, and could put you behind bars or in a hospital this festive season.
The Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) will use the Safe Systems approach over the festive season. Together with our regular road safety interventions we will look at the road system and the interactions between roads and roadsides, travel speeds, vehicles and road users.
- Read more about Safe Systems in the National Road Safety Strategy.
The festive season is notorious for the high number of deaths and serious injuries caused by crashes on our roads. Last year’s festive season campaign resulted in a 3% decrease in deaths on our roads and we hope to continue on this downward trend.
We encourage other road users and organisations to play a part in reducing serious injuries and deaths on our roads.
DTPW festive season traffic management and road safety activities
We'll set up stations where motorists can safely stop midway through their journeys to rest. Motorists and passengers can use the restrooms, get fresh water, and have their blood pressure and eyes tested.
|Free roadworthy tests||
We'll partner with local authority traffic services with roadworthy testing stations to extend its working hours. Motorists will have peace of mind when travelling long distances knowing that their vehicles are roadworthy.Read more about roadworthy testing.
|Handheld device (for 200 officers)||
Fifteen (15) handheld devices were given to traffic officers at ASOD sites across the province in the pilot phase. We will distribute 200 more over the festive season. The device will detail:
|Average Speed Over Distance||
Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) aims to reduce excessive speeding and crashes on our roads. During the festive season ASOD and the new handheld devices will be used together at the ASOD sites on the Westcoast/N7, N1 and N2 freeways.Read more about ASOD.
|George Alcohol Evidentiary Centre||
We will reopen our George Traffic Centre in the Southern Cape to perform the function of our Alcohol Evidentiary Centre. This centre will serve Provincial, Local Traffic Services and the South African Police Services in the Southern Cape area.Read more about Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Testing.
|New control rooms||
We will open 5 Central Communication Centres (CCC) across the Western Cape to improve radio communication over the festive season.