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. This year, you have the added responsibility of protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.
Always follow the Covid-19 golden rules of hygiene and avoid the 3 Cs - close contact, close spaces and crowded places. If you are using public transport please wear your face mask and make sure that there is good ventilation at all times.
- Read more about the COVID-19 golden rules on the coronavirus website.
The tips below will help to keep you safe.
Before your trip
- Plan your trip in advance. This will give you time to decide which routes are the safest, and to avoid roadworks, bad weather, and high accident zones. Plan regular rest-stops every 200 km or 2 hours to avoid getting tired while driving.
- Consider having your car serviced by a qualified service mechanic.
- Have your lights, indicators, windscreen wipers, brakes, steering, exhaust system and tyres checked for faults and make sure your vehicle is roadworthy before departure.
- If you are on medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medication might make you drowsy.
- Make sure to rest properly before embarking on a long journey.
On the road
- Have your driver's licence with you at all times.
- Always make sure you and your passengers are buckled up. Here's more information 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 so that you have enough time to react in an emergency. Remember to increase your following distance when visibility is poor and when the road is wet.
- Drive with your lights on - this will make you more visible to other drivers.
- Dip your headlights at night well before an approaching vehicle is close. Also remember to dip your lights as you approach vehicles in front of you.
- Be courteous and patient with other road users.
- Remember that drivers may only travel in the emergency lane if they can see the road ahead is clear for 150 m. Don’t expect the driver in front of you to move over just because you are in a hurry.
- Drive defensively. Don’t assume that other drivers will do what they are supposed to do.
- Only overtake when it is absolutely safe. Never overtake on a blind rise or where there is a solid white line.
- Always check your blind spot before changing lanes, even when the road seems deserted.
- Always be cautious when approaching a railway crossing. Be sure to slow down and cross only when it is safe to do so.
- Stay alert and keep an eye on what's happening around you.
- Always be prepared for emergencies. Carry an emergency kit with items that will come in handy if you're stranded on the side of the road or involved in a vehicle crash.
- Watch out for potentially dangerous drivers and pedestrians walking along the road and keep well clear of them. Find out more about pedestrian safety.
- Be on the lookout for obstructions like potholes or animals which may stray into the road, especially in rural areas.
- Be cautious when driving alone and avoid stopping in remote areas.
- Be alert when you are in an area where there is a risk of criminal activities such as hijacking or smash-and-grab theft.
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 100 ml of blood. Here's what you need to know about the blood/alcohol limit.
- Avoid distractions while driving. For example, never use your cellphone while driving. This will cause a lapse in your concentration, putting you and others at risk. Rather install a hands-free kit in your car. Find out more.
- Don’t drive tired. Fatigue affects your concentration and slows down your reactions. Pull over in a safe place and rest every 2 hours or 200 km.
- Avoid driving when visibility is poor. It is more difficult to drive safely at night, or when the weather is bad. If you struggle to see clearly at night, rather drive during the day.
- Never disobey road signs. Pay attention to flag signals and law enforcement officer signals.
- Never leave items such as cellphones and wallets in plain sight in a parked car. Rather carry them with you, or lock them in your boot. Even if you are driving, it is safer to keep valuable items out of sight to avoid smash-and-grab theft.
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. The National Road Traffic Regulations provide for fines for late registration or licensing to be “calculated at one-tenth of the appropriate fees as determined by the MEC of the province concerned”.
The latest lockdown regulations state that all learner's licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expire during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 December 2020 are deemed to be valid and their validity periods are extended for a further grace period ending on 31 August 2021.
- Read more about the validity of licences during the lockdown.
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.
Our tactical 2020/21 Festive Season Plan is aligned to the National 365 Road Safety Calendar as well as the Western Cape Traffic Law Enforcement operational objectives with the following focus areas:
- Integrated Provincial Interventions and Focus
- Scholar Transport Operations
- Public Transport Operations
- Weighbridge Operations (Freight transport, RTQS checks illegal movements, Massamatic screening of loads and long distance buses)
- Driver and vehicle fitness operations
- Alcohol enforcement
- Fatigue Management Operations
- Moving Violations Operations
- Seatbelt Operations (front and rear)
- Speed Operations
- Integrated Provincial Operations
- Inter-Provincial Traffic Operations among Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape
- Integrated SAPS operations - 24/7 DMA Operations
- Cross Border Operations (Weighbridges/Provincial Borders)
These plans are based on priority operations but are not limited to the day to day operations that will be conducted at all Traffic Centres where auxiliary services are being rendered.
We will once again set up Compulsory Fatigue Management Awareness checkpoints at critical locations on the N1 and N2 to regulate specifically the drivers of public transport and to enforce the resting period of not driving more than 200km and or two hours at a stretch.
- Read more about the 2020-2021 Festive Season Safety Plan