Tag Archives: safety

chances-bad-weather-Istock

“Now is not the time to take chances!”

The AA has strongly urged all motorists travelling on South Africa’s roads to not take chances and to be extra vigilant in the bad weather.

“There are a lot of wet, even icy, roads out there meaning that tyres may only have half as much grip on the surface as on dry roads. Motorists need to be aware that the conditions are different and must adapt their driving accordingly. They need to brake earlier, enter corners at slower speeds, and maintain focus on the road ahead at all times,” the AA advised.

The Association also said it is important that motorists check that their windscreen wipers are working properly (front and back) and that their brakes are sound. It said that motorists should also check the condition of their tyres to avoid aquaplaning. Aquaplaning occurs where the tread on the tyres is no longer able to channel water away, and the tyre lifts off the road surface and starts to skim across the water like a speedboat

“Now is not the time to take any chances with safety. Crashes in wet, icy conditions are common, and we advise everyone to heed the call to drive safely. Switch on your headlights, maintain a good following distance from the car ahead of you, and don’t speed. Importantly, always wear your safety belt and ensure all children and passengers are also strapped in,” the AA said.

Apart from ensuring their cars are in a good condition, the Association also warned motorists not to take chances by crossing low-lying bridges as the fast-flowing water could cause them to be swept downstream.

Some tips from the Association to keep safe in wet conditions include:

  • Ensure your headlights and brake lights are working
  • Switch on your headlights, especially when natural light is low. Remember this also alerts other drivers to your presence on the road
  • Ensure your windscreen and wipers are in good condition
  • Check that your tyres are in good shape
  • Don’t speed, and maintain a safe following distance
  • Buckle up
  • Don’t cross low-lying bridges, even if you think your car can make it
  • Slow down before entering standing water on the road as this may cause the car to “pull” to the side without warning, and it may be deeper than it looks
  • Avoid areas where there are known to be adverse conditions
  • Adjust your speed for the condition of the road. Just because a road is marked at 120km, doesn’t mean it is safe to travel at this speed in all conditions
  • Concentrate on the road, not on anything else such as electronic devices
  • If you are going to an area known to have bad weather, and there is a possibility you may to stuck for extended periods, remember to take extra blankets, appropriate clothing and refreshments, and ensure your tank has enough fuel for the journey
  • Keep your cellphone charged in case of an emergency

“The wet conditions are expected to continue until at least Thursday and all drivers are urged to stay calm, adhere to the rules of the road, and arrive safely at their destinations,” the AA concluded.

Source: AA

 

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Why students are more at risk of being involved in a crash

Every year during university holiday seasons a high number of road deaths and accidents are reported, many of which involve students and young drivers.

According to Arrive Alive, crashes involving alcohol, speeding and carrying of passengers are about 20 times more likely for teens than for middle aged adults. In addition to that crashes occurring at night and involving both alcohol and passengers are about 9 times more likely.

Some of the reasons for this might seem obvious: young people have less driving experience, they’re more likely to break the rules of the road and/or be distracted. But knowing this, perhaps teens need further teaching and reinforcement when it comes to avoiding a car crash.

Factors that make young drivers a bigger risk, according to Arrive Alive:

  • Driver inexperience
  • Bravado/Ego/Feeling ‘invincible’
  • Failure to wear seatbelts
  • Drunken driving/Impaired driving
  • Night driving/Driver fatigue
  • Distracted driving/Distracted walking

“The above factors are not exclusive to our students and younger drivers – there are however reasons why they are more prevalent among this age group,” said Arrive Alive.

How to enhance driver experience

Arrive Alive suggests that continuous driver training and advanced driver training as a way to enhance driver experience as well as the following:

  • Safety – Position and speed must always be put aside and sacrificed for safety.
  • Systematic driving – Driving by using skills to deal with any environment or situation, in enough time to decide on the best position, speed and gear of the vehicle to negotiate hazards safely.
  • Smoothness – The vehicle should be stable with little bounce or roll on the road and any passengers should be comfortable in the vehicle and have the utmost confidence in the driver’s ability. Nothing the driver does should look or feel rushed or hurried, resulting in an economical use of fuel as well.
  • Restraint – The ability to recognize when to hold back from particular hazards to ensure the safety and reassurance of passengers and other road users, or to avoid causing others concern, even if this concern may be unjustified.

With some additional training the young driver can be assisted to prevent collisions by making use of the Standard Accident Prevention Formula:

1. Recognise the hazard: Think and look as far ahead as possible. Never assume everything will be all right and always expect the unexpected.

2. Understand the defence: There are certain methods of handling each traffic situation, know these and teach yourself to react positively when the need arises.

3. Act in time: Once you have seen the hazard and you have recognised the defense, never adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude as you will be wasting valuable time and space.

Adjust your attitude

  • Attitude Check: Although exterior and interior checks of your car are vital, an attitude check is just as helpful in preventing accidents.
  • A positive, pro-active attitude can really help reduce collisions. These include:
    • A tolerance and consideration for other road users.
    • Restrain yourself from reacting aggressively to another road user’s aggressive behaviour.
    • A realistic view of your own driving abilities.
    • Concern for your safety and that of your passengers and other road users.

Awareness of the dangers of speeding needs to be instilled in the minds of these young drivers:

  • At 20 km/h a minor driving error can easily be corrected but at 120 km/h the same error could prove deadly.
  • Never attempt to drive over the speed limit as it leads to late reactions in an emergency. If it is necessary to drive at the speed limit it should be done with complete concentration, clear visibility and knowledge of your stopping distance.
  • If you increase your speed, you should expect an increase of your required braking distance.

Insist on seatbelt safety

  • Much more awareness is needed on the importance of being buckled up and that wearing seatbelts is the Law!
  • There is often a false sense of security that airbags will save lives and prevent injury in a road crash.
  • With our low seatbelt wearing rates we need to emphasize that “the back seat is no safer” and that everyone must be buckled in – front and back seats.
  • Also important to emphasize that seatbelts should not only be used when driving on the freeway – they are designed to protect the best at residential speed limits and should be used however far or slow the drive to be taken!

Drinking and driving is NOT cool

  • More awareness is needed on the symptoms associated with the intake of alcohol.
  • Even though we recommend a ZERO alcohol intake for drivers, it is important to also educate on the legal limits and the units of alcohol, the absorption of alcohol in the body etc.
  • Our younger road users who are not consuming alcohol themselves should be advised not to climb in a vehicle with a driver who is impaired.
  • Self-testing and breathalysing should be encouraged!
  • Designated driving services should be promoted as part of informed decision making.

Nighttime driving safety

  • If possible to avoid driving through the night or late at night, it is best to delay driving till daytime.
  • The best way to prevent driver fatigue is to start a journey well rested.
  • Good, clear visibility is vital, so make sure your windscreen is clean and that your windscreen wipers are used in wet weather. Keep your windscreen free from mist at all times.
  • Head and tail lights should be in good working condition with the lenses clean and headlamps properly adjusted to give a good beam ahead without dazzling other road users.
  • It is also very important to drive at a speed at which you feel comfortable, and which will enable the vehicle to be brought to a stop within the range of the headlamps.
  • Slow down when in dimly lit, urban areas and remain alert to the not so visible and impaired pedestrian.
  • Approach and proceed across Intersections with caution.
  • If you feel drowsy, stop the car, stretch your legs, enjoy some refreshment and rest your eyes.
  • A short rest will help to restore the failing powers of concentration and observation.

Preventing distracted driving

  • Best advice is to avoid using cellular phones when driving.
  • When the phone rings, let it ring! It’s better to use your phone’s voicemail or even miss a call than to put yourself, your passengers or others at risk.
  • If you have to make a call on a hands free cellular phone – ask a passenger to dial or answer the phone for you.
  • Keep your calls brief.
  • If you expect such a call to last longer than a few seconds – be on the lookout for a suitable spot to pull over.
  • Never take notes or jot down numbers whilst driving.
  • When in heavy traffic –rather tell the person you will call back when it is safer.

Also read: Distracted driving is still a massive problem in SA!

The following video, by the students at the Free State University focuses on road safety for young drivers, particularly when it comes to holiday time:

Video via Youtube 

Source: Arrive Alive 

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Uber is urging all riders to use these safety features

In light of various news to do with Uber and issues surrounding the safety of riders, Uber has urged all riders to make use of various safety features included in the app.

In a press release Uber stated that it is committed to the safety of everyone that uses the app, riders and driver-partners alike and that this is why Uber strives to constantly better their safety features and offer these features in-app, world over.

Take note of the following safety tips from Uber:

Know your driver

The Uber app provides riders with the details of their driver-partner as soon as a rider accepts a trip. Riders need to use this information to verify their driver-partner is indeed the same driver-partner that accepted their request via the app. Riders should check the driver’s name and photo, vehicle type and license plate number. This feature ensures riders get in the correct vehicle with the correct driver-partner.

Track the trip

Riders should make use of Uber’s GPS features that allows them to track a trip by viewing the route on the map in the app. From the minute a ride is requested, the rider is able to track the vehicle on the way to pick them up. In addition to ensuring one gets into the correct vehicle, the GPS features allow riders to know exactly where they are headed and that they’re on the right track. Uber also uses GPS to keep a record of where a driver-partner goes during the ride, meaning Uber can verify that the most efficient routes are being used. Uber also recently introduced a new feature called Family Profiles, which allows up to 10 riders to safely and easily share one card as a payment method.

Share your ETA

As an additional security feature, riders are encouraged to share their ETA (estimated time of arrival) and location with a friend or loved one. This is easily done via the app and can be shared with anyone – without the friend or family member ever needing to download the Uber app themselves. Using this feature means a rider can share their destination and route for peace of mind. Friends or family will receive a link where they can see in real time, the name and photo of the driver-partner, their vehicle, and where are on the map the rider is, until they’ve arrived at their destination.

24/7 support

Uber offers 24/7 support. Uber’s customer support staff are ready to assist with queries, whether it be an inefficient route or a traffic accident. Riders can contact the support team at any time of the day, on any day of the week.

Feedback

Riders and driver-partners rate each other after each and every trip. This allows riders to see their driver-partners current rating prior to getting into the vehicle, and allows Uber to query any negative feedback. This feedback helps driver-partners keep standards high and helps Uber address any concerns.

Source: Uber South Africa

Potholes

A how-to-guide in navigating potholes!

Driving on South African roads, especially in certain areas of the country, can feel like you are trying to navigate a minefield. Even the most experienced drivers don’t stand a chance on our eroded roads. Not only do potholes pose potential danger to you, they can also seriously harm your tyres.

They are often hard to see and so are difficult to avoid, especially at night or when driving in heavy traffic which doesn’t allow you to swerve out of the way.

Tiger Wheel & Tyre put together a few pothole safety tips to help avoid them:

  • Remember that properly inflated tyres will hold up better against potholes than tyres that are under inflated
  • Other than simply being good driving practice, leaving enough room between you and the car in front of you can be critical in avoiding potholes
  • If you can’t avoid a pothole altogether make sure you slow down before you hit it and never brake directly over a pothole as this can actually cause more damage than speeding over it
  • In the case where you have to drive directly over a pothole make sure to hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control
  • Watch out for innocent looking puddles, these are often potholes in disguise

What is the damage a pothole can cause?

  • Is your car pulling to the left or right, is your alignment is off?
  • Uneven tyre wear?
  • Low tyre pressure?
  • Bulges, tears or blisters on sidewall of your tyre?
  • Indents in the wheel rim?

Potholes should be reported to local municipalities to get repaired and if you have any of the above symptoms or suspect you have tyre damage visit your nearest Tiger Wheel & tyre to have your tyres checked.

Drunken driving

Drunken Driving: The insurance folly

We have posted much on drunken driving! Most drivers are aware if they are involved in a crash after consuming alcohol, their insurance provider will not cover their claim. What many drivers may not be aware of is that it is much easier to repudiate a claim based on suspected alcohol consumption than what it is to be arrested for it.

In a recent radio interview Deanne Wood, from the Short-term Insurance Ombudsman, said there have been significant increases in repudiation of claims for motor collisions involving the consumption of alcohol. What drivers may not be aware of is the requirements to prove alcohol was involved are easier than one would think.

This is because there is a difference between criminal standards and civil standards and insurers only need to prove civil standards to repudiate a claim. Criminal standards require you to prove beyond doubt that alcohol, above the legal limits, was consumed whereas civil standards are based on the balance of probabilities.

5 myths about drunken driving

In the interview Wood explains what this means for drivers. “Many restaurants have CCTV cameras and the insurers will get the footage and watch what you as the driver were doing and if you consumed alcohol before you had your accident. That is sufficient to repudiate a claim.”

The MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, also points out another bit of information that Wood mentioned which could trip up many potential drunk drivers. “If you are tempted to put misleading information into your claim, such as where you were before an accident, to avoid it reflecting negatively on you, seriously reconsider this. If you are discovered the claim can be repudiated. Furthermore, many insurers do go to great lengths to verify what you say.”

Herbert agrees with Wood in that the financial implications of disregarding your policy can be dire. An insurer is entitled to repudiate your claim and the claims of others involved in the crash. If you cannot meet the cost of these repairs, you may be required to sell assets to do so.

“Drinking and driving can have many devastating consequences. If, despite these consequences, you are still tempted to drink and drive because you think you can escape the law, remember it may not be so easy to escape your insurer,” says Herbert.

 

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Are you fit enough to drive?

Being fit enough to drive depends on a number of things: your levels of fatigue and stress, your general health and your eyesight are all major factors contributing to your ability to drive well.

Ever find yourself having a bad day as a driver? Let’s put the typical contributing factors like bad traffic, other ignorant drivers and road works aside.

There are some things you need to make sure you keep in check in order to be fit enough to drive:

Get enough sleep 

Driving when you’re tired can severely affect your ability to react and stay alert and can cause you to have an accident. If you’re not a confident driver, being tired makes you less likely to relax. There’s nothing worse than a tense or anxious driver so make sure you get a good night’s sleep before embarking on long journeys.

Expand driving experiences 

Research proves that the more you drive different cars the better your driving skills become. The same goes for road environments and the amount of experience you have driving in different terrains/highways/routes. Don’t be afraid of driving someone else’s (family member/friends) car if you get the opportunity.

Get your eyes checked regularly 

Did you know that 59% of road accidents can be attributed to poor eyesight? It’s estimated that eyesight can start to deteriorate as early as the age of twenty, according to smartdrivinguk Routine eye checks are important because having good eyesight is a basic requirement for safe driving. If your vision is poor you’ll be less able to fully function while driving and be qualified as unfit to drive.

Maintain confidence 

There’s nothing worse than a paranoid driver! Drivers who hesitate are more likely to cause accidents. Getting over you fear of driving, especially if you’re a new driver takes practice yet there are many people with years of driving experience who are still too scared to travel along highways and busy roads. Try practice driving during quieter times along highways and places you don’t usually feel confident driving.

Read more; How to get over your fear of driving

Don’t show off 

On the other end of the scale, over-confidence and/or showing off while driving is a recipe for disaster. Showing off to your friends or partner while driving is not only annoying, it’s down-right dangerous too! A fit driver understands that doing wheelies and hand-brake-turns just makes you look stupid.

NEVER drink and drive 

And lastly, although most importantly: a fit driver is a sober driver. Driving under the influence is as common as it is dangerous and with SA’s high road death toll due to drunk driving, we all need to be more aware of the dangers of driving after a few drinks. There are some great ride-sharing alternatives, like Uber, in SA which leaves us with no excuse for get behind the wheel after drinking.