Make being a responsible road user your highest priority for 2018

Because one life lost is one too many…

So, you started 2018 on high, and may have set a few goals to self-improve. For some, this might have included things like getting your fitness game up, eating healthier, reading more or even becoming better at your finances. If you haven’t gotten to this list, it’s not too late to start and, perhaps you should also consider at adding something like becoming a more responsible road user. And, here’s why…

Road safety in South Africa is a concern – a continuously growing one.  In fact, alarming statistics from the Department of Transport indicate that there were 1 527 deaths on South African roads between December 2017 – January 2018 alone; this is in comparison to the 1 714 recorded for the same two-month period in the previous year. Although these numbers do show a marked improvement they remain high. One life lost is one too many, and as such, this decrease needs to continue. It goes without saying then that road safety should be treated with the highest of importance by everyone. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few simple ways in which each of us can play a part in being responsible road users. 

  1. Be visible on the road

Whether you are a pedestrian, motorist or a biker, visibility on the roads is highly important at all times, and there are a number of ways to make sure that you are visible while on the roads. For pedestrians and bikers, wearing a reflector vest at night, and bright-colored clothes or accessories, helps ensure that other road users are able to see you better. For motorists, having your daytime lights turned on has also proven to help reduce accidents on the roads, as it makes it easier to see cars in low light situations. 

  1. One thing at a time, don’t text and drive/walk

Texting and driving is one of the leading causes of fatal crashes on South Africa’s roads. Living in the information age – that has everyone living in a clear state of ‘FOMO’ and our thumbs are always scrolling – but, there is a time and place for everything. So, when using the roads, put your phone down. It is your responsibility to be considerate of other fellow road users by acting responsibly and by making sure that your full concentration is placed on driving/walking safely. Put your phone away, whatever it is, it can wait. No call or text is worth your – or anyone else’s – life. 

Also read: 15 ways women who drive alone can stay safe in 2018

  1. Don’t drink and drive!

Often times people who are under the influence of alcohol will argue that it is no big deal, and that they made it home alright. This does not mean that the decision to drive while under the influence is right, as drinking affects your ability to exercise good judgement and the effects are far reaching. This is not only because you risk getting a criminal record, if you get stopped by the cops, but you also put other road users at risk.

If you are going out with friends, arrange for someone sober to pick you up, or using a driving service.  Using the roads responsibly requires one to be sober, vigilant and alert at all times, and being under the influence takes away from this.

  1. Obey the rules of the road

It’s simple – obey the rules of the roads, as they are there to create order and protect all road users. As such, be aware of some of these road rules, including:

  • Keep your vehicle as close to the left-hand side of the road as possible
  • Don’t exceed the speed limit
  • Indicate your intentions early on
  • Pass with care and when allowed
  • Always put your seatbelt on
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals
  • Be visible on the roads

This year, do things differently and more responsibly; stay alert at all times and make the choice to improve your driving habits and become a road user that is considerate of others – one that exercises patience on the road. This will go a long way in improving the state of our roads and towards encouraging a culture of change when it comes to safe and responsible behaviour by all road users.

Via: Imperial Road Safety