On 23 April at around 17:30 a Nissan bakkie ramped a concrete barrier and became wedged between a large truck on the N12 heading east just after the Tom Jones on-ramp. The cause of the accident was unknown, but the Matrix Road Safety Association vehicle was first on the scene, and the onboard Emer-g-med paramedics found the two occupants of the Nissan bakkie still trapped in the vehicle.
They contacted the Ekhuruhleni Fire Department for assistance to extricate the trapped passenger and driver from the vehicle. The N12 was closed to traffic while the team worked to remove the passengers who were later taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries.
Dave Johnston, consultant for the Matrix Road Safety Association, says insufficient following distance is often a major cause of drivers running out of time and space, often resulting in an accident. “The correct minimum following distance for normal conditions, at any speed, is three seconds,” he says. Johnston explains that tests on South African roads show that most drivers leave an average of 0.25 to 0.50 seconds behind the vehicle in front. Drivers have an average reaction time of one second, so what that means is that when there is a problem or emergency ahead, the vehicle will be involved in that crash because it is not humanly possible to avoid it. The driver simply runs out of time and space. “Many drivers refuse to leave this three second following distance because another vehicle may cut in. If you think about it logically they are only ‘stealing’ one of your three seconds so just back off one second and you will arrive safely at your destination one second later. It’s not worth your life or those of your passengers ,” he concludes.