Between 1 December 2010 and 8 January 2011, 1 221 fatal crashes occurred on South Africa’s roads resulting in 1 551 fatalities, reported Sibusiso Ndebele, the Minister of Transport, at the beginning of this year.
He added that the major contributory factors to the 2010/11 festive season fatal crashes included speeding, overtaking when it was not safe to do so, fatigue, overloading and tyre bursts.
Brendan Horan, Sales and Marketing General Manager of MiX Telematics says it’s up to each one of us to get our vehicles in order, and ensure we are well rested before hitting the roads this year. “The amount of fatalities every year is alarming and we need to make a change before these statistics become even worse this festive season,” he says.
Through its roadside assistance and crash alert technology in its tracking units, Matrix responds to numerous incidents over the festive season and experiences first hand the severity of the accidents that take place. “We want to reach out to our customers and other road users to really take the severity of these accidents to heart and make a concerted effort to stay safe on the roads this December and January.”
Horan offers the following tips for drivers getting behind the wheel in the next few weeks:
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
• Get enough sleep and plan your route. It is important to plan your route, including refueling points, rest points and any overnight stops if necessary. Also ensure you get enough sleep the night before your trip to ensure you are not tired when driving.
• Check your car – Before departing it is essential to check that your car is also properly prepared for a long road trip – double check the headlights, indicators, shocks, stop lights, tail-lights, windscreen wipers, mirrors, brakes, steering, tyres, oil and water. Remember to also ensure that your spare wheel is in good condition.
• Charge the cell – Importantly, also remember to properly charge your cell phone, so you can contact emergency services should you need to.
ON THE ROAD
• Seatbelts a must – Using seat belts is important for any road journey – in both the front seat and the back seat. Children under 12 should ideally be secured in a back seat. Even with air bags, the back seat is generally safer for children. Child safety seats for younger children are also essential and should be used correctly – for example never put a rear-facing car seat in the front where there is an air bag, make sure it is securely fitted and is the right size for your child.
• Rain and slippery roads – During rainy weather, motorists can expect that slippery roads, traffic slowdowns and decreased visibility will make driving hazardous, even at moderate speeds. However, there are some precautions that you can take. Drivers need to remember to allow extra following distances, to not slam on brakes but instead apply a steady, light and firm pressure, to drive in the centre lane and avoid the outside lane as water often collects in these areas and use their headlights.
• Take breaks – Fatigue plays a large part in the number of road accidents we see during the December months. Drivers and passengers should be aware of any signs of fatigue. If the driver is drifting from lane to lane and jerking the vehicle back again, is daydreaming, constantly yawning, having difficulty focusing or keeping his/her eyes open – it is time to stop and take a rest. Don’t rely on the radio or fresh air from an open window to keep you awake, rather pull off into a safe area, drink some coffee and try to have a 20 – 45 minute nap.
• Stop in a safe spot – If you do need to rest, avoid suspicious areas and keep all your doors locked. Where possible, rather pull over to a designated rest stop, such as one of the many petrol stations which line the major routes in South Africa.
“We need to work together to stop the increase in road accidents this festive season. We are committed – are you?” he concludes.
Want to receiveassistance should you be involved in a serious car accident and are unable to call for help? With Matrix’s MX3, you will receiveemergency assistance, should you be involved in a serious vehicle related accident. Matrix’s MX3 Tracking Device has crash alert sensors which, once activated, send out a silent distress signal to our National Operations Centre, alerting them of the situation. Matrix will then contact our SOS partners who will send an ambulance to the exact GPS co-ordinates of the accident.
Additional benefits that come standard with our Crash Alert service (compliments of our SOS partner) include Medical advice and information hotline, Emergency medical advice and assistance line, Referrals to medical advice and assistance line, Referrals to crisis line, Referrals to medical practitioners and facilities, Medical transportation and Inter-hospital transfer.
For more information on this unique service contact Matrix on 0800 33 99 88, alternatively send us an e-mail and we will get back to you.