Tag Archives: safety

Car accident casualty

The number of road deaths last weekend will shock you

Over the weekend of 27 and 28 March 2015, a shocking number of people died on the roads of the Western Cape – 24 in only one province. Shocking!

This, despite the Western Cape Services’ efforts to protect road users. Arrive Alive reported that, during this same weekend, 26 alcohol blitz roadblocks across the Western Cape saw a total of 3 091 vehicles stopped as part of Provincial Traffic services safety campaign.

A total of 1 740 drivers were screened for (being under suspicion of) driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in 25 arrests.

The highest breath alcohol reading was recorded in Somerset West at 1.04mg/1000ml, which was 5 times the legal limit of 0,24mg/1000ml.

A total of 1 774 vehicles were screened for speeding of which 224 speeding offences were recorded. A total of 280 fines were issued for various traffic violations ranging from driver to vehicle fitness to the amount of R 343 200.

The following areas are where the 24 fatalities took place:

Cape Metropole:

Gordon’s Bay – 1 Driver + 1 Motorcyclist
Observatory – 1 Pedestrian
Sea Point – 1 Pedestrian
Mfuleni – 2 Drivers + 4 Passengers + 1 Pedestrian
Lansdowne – 1 Driver
Goodwood –1 Pedestrian

Cape Winelands/Overberg

De Doorns – 1 Pedestrian
Wolseley – 1 Driver + 3 passengers
Goudini – 1 Pedestrian

West Coast

Citrusdal – 2 Passengers
Hopefield – 1 Pedestrian + 1 Passenger
Saldanha – 1 Driver


Are all your tyres identical? If not, you could be in danger

Do you know if all four of your car’s tyres are identical? If not, your life could very well be in danger, especially if you’re driving with a car that doesn’t feature ABS.

Bridgestone tells us why and gives us a few tips:

Bridgestone has advised motorists to ensure all four tyres on their vehicles are of an identical make and tread pattern to ensure best road holding. The tyre company was commenting in the wake of its recent Tyre Check survey which found that tyre-mismatching on vehicles remains a cause of concern.

“Modern vehicles are designed with certain traction characteristics which depend on each tyre having similar performance,” said Bridgestone’s General Manager for Field Engineering and Technical Services, Hiroshi Nakanishi. “When a vehicle is fitted with tyres of varying makes, sizes or tread patterns, roadholding performance could be affected, and the vehicle’s ABS brakes and stability control may not deliver the levels of safety the driver expects,” he added.

The most dangerous type of tyre mis-matching occurs when different tyres are fitted to the same axle. This can cause the vehicle to pull to one side under braking. On vehicles with ABS, the vehicle can compensate at the expense of longer braking distances, but without ABS, the vehicle may enter a sideways skid under heavy braking.  “Even a small difference in braking traction from one side of the vehicle to the other can affect stability and stopping effectiveness,” he said.

Roadholding can also be affected when one axle is fitted with different tyres to the other. “A vehicle’s road holding characteristics are carefully optimised by engineers, but can be degraded when tyres are mis-matched front to back,” Nakanishi said. “It is rare that different types of tyres give exactly the same performance, so if a vehicle has less effective tyres at the rear than at the front, the vehicle will be more prone to a rear-wheel skid than it would be with four identical tyres,” he said. “Again, modern stability control systems may be able to compensate for this at the cost of reduced road holding, but on a vehicle without stability control, the driver could enter a skid which leads to loss of control.”

Nakanishi said it was very important for drivers of vehicles which do not have electronic driver assistance like stability control or ABS brakes to ensure all four tyres on the vehicle are identical. “Vehicles like these cannot assist the driver to compensate for tyre mis-matching and there is a higher risk of loss of control under heavy braking or during emergency swerves,” he concluded.

Lady driver

Safety for Driving Divas

A child standing on the front or back seat of the car or you just simply answering your cellular phone or texting while driving… sound familiar? These are common unsafe practices that often occur.

In a Driving Divas workshop hosted by General Motors South Africa (GMSA) for the company’s female employees, a number of women were reminded of safe driving habits.

Presented by Vuyi Mpofu, columnist of Driving in Heels, the workshop covered safety aspects such as using car seats appropriately, not using one’s mobile phone whilst driving and how to be vigilant and avoid being potential hijack targets.

Mpofu was especially critical about texting and speaking on a cellular phone whilst driving. She said that any distraction while driving is an accident risk as there are so many things on the road to be vigilant for. “There are three types of distractions, visual, manual and mental distractions and texting involves all three.”

She added that drivers who are distracted by their phones are also hijack targets. “Hijackers often target women, especially those who drive alone and who are not alert when standing still at red lights. Women often check their phones and touch up make-up when standing still. Meanwhile hijackers check their moves and strike at this time,” Mpofu.

Furthermore, Mpofu advised women of tyre safety, demonstrating how to check the tread on the tyres. “The tyre tread must be at least one millimetre deep, anything less than this is unsafe and will not allow you to stop a safe distance in the event of an emergency brake,” said Mpofu.

Esterline Martin, employee at the Chevrolet general assembly line, said the workshop was an eye-opener and a reminder of all the bad habits one has when driving. “I will from now on be extra vigilant when I drive with my grandson and I’ve come to realise the importance of a car seat for him,” said Martin.

The workshop ended with practical driver training on the track and on the open road led by advance driving expert, Tschops Sipuka


Pros and Cons of cruise control

Advances in automotive technology provide drivers with optimal safety and comfort on the road on a daily basis, but, are there also dangers to being too comfortable on the road? Arrive Alive tells all when it comes to cruise control.

For those that don’t know what cruise control is, it is an in-car feature that automatically keeps the speed of your vehicle at a chosen km/h without keeping your foot on the accelerator.The driver is able to manage the speed of the car with the fingertips whilst still keeping control of the vehicle through steering and braking. However, it should be noted that cruise control was developed as a comfort and convenience system rather than a safety system.

The advantages of cruise control are as follows:

1. It allows you to take long road trips with added comfort.

2. With cruise control activated, the driver can sit back, relax his right leg, and steer the vehicle.

3. For those who suffer from lead-foot syndrome, cruise control ensures that you travel at a smooth and steady speed.

4. Most drivers are fairly inconsistent at maintaining a given speed, instead creeping up and drifting down as you drive along a road as they manually adjust relative to the speed limit and road conditions such as hills.

5. The car uses less fuel due to the ongoing speed.

6. Driving with cruise control will help to avoid violating speed limits.

7. The positives for road safety include a reduction of the mean driving speed, a reduction of the maximum speed, a reduction of speed differences, i.e. increased speed homogeneity and a reduction of the number of very short headway times.

8. Decrease in fuel consumption means decrease of harmful emissions.

However, there are also cons to using cruise control:

1. Cruise control when deployed will attempt to keep the car at a constant speed set by the driver. If the vehicle speed has been set to a certain speed, the car will automatically enter a corner at that speed. If this is an inappropriate speed for the corner the subsequent braking to reduce speed will, while cornering, affect the balance of the vehicle which may in turn induce instability in the vehicle.

2. This will affect the vehicle handling and if not correctly compensated for by the driver, can, in a worst case, result in a loss of control of the vehicle.

3. Cruise control may lead to delayed braking.

4. Wet roads significantly affect the grip of the tyre and this in turn can make corrective actions by the driver much more difficult to judge.

5. Cruise control should NEVER be used by a driver who is feeling tired or jaded.

6. The lack of need to maintain constant pedal pressure can increase the risk of vehicle accidents caused by ‘highway hypnosis’.

7. Cruise control can also take your mind off the road.

8. The driver may not be able to respond as swiftly and effectively to an emergency situation.

The moral of the story is that cruise control is not made for all road conditions, but rather for the ideal road conditions. If your car has cruise control as a feature, it is important to read the owner’s manual as a guide to when cruise control should be avoided. As Arrive Alive suggests, the driving feature is designed for ideal road conditions and some manuals suggest cruise control should not be used in “heavy traffic driving, city driving, winding, slippery or unsealed roads.

Image Source: BMW



Guy steals woman’s car during an OkCupid date!

Imagine a guy that you ‘met’ on Tinder steals your car after your first date together? Well, that actually happened. Except, it wasn’t Tinder, it was OkCupid (an American dating site).

Washington Post reported that a woman fell for a man called Gerald Tietz online, after he described himself as a ‘sensitive man who is sick of all the lies from females and whose wife died of breast cancer’. She contacted him on OkCupid and after the first date, she found herself without her red 2007 Toyota Solara.

The police did find him and arrest him.

Ladies, if you don’t want your car (or your heart) stolen by a ‘catfishing’ Tinder date, look out for these signs. This is how the guy described himself online:

Heartwrenching backstory: “I was married for 22 yrs. until my wife’s unfortunate death due to breast cancer. I have no children as my wife was unable to have any due to the cancer gene in her family history.”

No money problems: “Made some sound business moves and worked hard. Purchased beachfront property in Clearwater Beach 30 yrs ago and enjoying that now.”

Sensitive: “I just want to meet someone who wants a guy who learns everything about the woman he is with. Likes, dislikes, favorite color, food, books, movies etc. Men don’t take the time to learn these important things in a relationship, they are concerned with their performance in the bedroom. Performance is important but knowing what the heart and mind think are just as important.”

Sick of the all the lies: “The dating scene is brutal. Drug addicts, drunks, gold diggers, bulls—t and fairy tales. … Looking to meet someone with a hard work ethic and most importantly being honest.”





Warning for all Western Cape N1 and N2 drivers!

If you frequently drive on the N1 or N2 (Western Cape) passing along small towns renowned for its fruit farms, you may be used to seeing hawkers at the side of the road with fruits such as apples, grapes and peaches.

However, motorists should be warned against buying any fruit from these hawkers as the fruits are more often than not stolen from the farms and most of the fruit sellers are even associated with gangsterism, which makes it a  dangerous situation for any prospective buyer.

This is at least true for towns such as De Doorns (N1) and Grabouw (N2). Citizens of the small town of Grabouw, renowned for its apple production, are fed up with this scam and have spoken to officials to get rid of this practice, but nothing has worked so far.

Selling stolen fruits is illegal, but the actual danger lies with the fact that these so-called ‘fruit sellers’ actually have a hidden agenda and lure prospective fruit buyers thinking they are getting a bargain, with the target to attack and mug them.

One disgruntled citizen from Grabouw commented on a public forum that there need to be signs along the N2 depicting a fruit seller on one side of a car with a man with a knife on the other. “There are real dangers here. If there are no customers, the practice will die out.”

He also stated, “The SIS and the traffic department do stop and confiscate the fruit if they can catch them, but the ideal is to take the SAPS with a van along and arrest and detain each fruit seller. Take them to the station, finger print them and record them.”

This has also posed a threat for motorists. The same citizen commented, “I use the local N2 on a frequent basis and I often move onto the shoulder of the road when it is safe to do so in order to allow faster traffic to pass me. I cannot do that when there is a fruit seller on the side of the road, or a vehicle has stopped to buy fruit.”

NOTE: There is an importance to LEGAL street trading in the RSA as one of the  biggest sectors of the informal economy in South Africa, however this needs to be done with a valid trading licence and all other rules and regulations that apply to street trading in South Africa.

(Source & Images: Facebook & Grabouw Community News Page)