Tag Archives: safety

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10 interesting facts about road accidents

There’s a lot that can cause a road accident: distracted driving, drunken driving, vehicles that aren’t roadworthy, to name a few. A lot of the time it’s a simple mistake which could’ve been easily avoided that causes a major accident.

By taking note of the following 10 facts, you might be encouraged to pay more attention the next time you’re behind the wheel and to take the necessary precautions:

  1. Worldwide, male drivers have a higher risk of dying in a car accident than women due to their inclination to speed more, drink more and take more risks
  2. In South Africa, the major contributory factors to festive season fatal crashes are drunk driving, speeding, overtaking when unsafe to do so, fatigue, overloading of vehicles and a tyre bursting.
  3. Deaths from road accidents are at least twice as high in South Africa as the global average.
  4. The most dangerous drivers are young men.
  5. While women are statistically safer on the road, they have just as many accidents as men; however, they tend to be minor fender-benders, while men are usually involved in more serious collisions.
  6. Cautious old ladies are more inclined to die behind the wheel than speeding teenage boys – not because they’re reckless, but because they’re frail and less likely to survive injury.
  7. In SA, according to stats released in 1998, your likelihood of being in a fatal crash between midnight and 4am is four times higher than during daytime.
  8. Motorbikes are especially vulnerable on the road as motorists regularly fail to see them, and intersections are the most likely place for a motorcycle accident to occur.
  9. In the US, of all road users, 4-year-olds have the lowest death risk – probably because they’re in child car seats, and their parents drive more carefully.
  10. In the UK and the US, the drivers of station wagons have a death rate of less than half the national average for cars due to the fact that they’re safer on the roads and their drivers tend not to take risks.
Burglar threatens the woman a gun

This is how you can prevent a smash-and-grab incident

Just like hijack-incidents, smash-and-grab incidents are on the rise. Unfortunately if you live in South Africa and drive around a lot, especially in certain areas, getting robbed while sitting in your car is very likely. Here are some very worthy tips from OUTsurance to prevent a smash-and-grab incident from happening to you:

1. Always keep all doors locked.

2. Never open your windows or get into discussions with street vendors or anyone handing out flyers.

3. Do not leave your handbag, cellphone or anything of value in plain sight.

4. Always be conscious of your surroundings and remain alert when coming to an intersection or stopping your vehicle.

5. If it’s late at night, slow down well in advance so that the light changes green by the time you reach the intersection.

6. Keep an eye out for any obstacles on the road (e.g. tyres or rocks). Note: Do not get out of your car to remove these.

7. Leave a gap between you and the car in front of you to give you room to escape (i.e. drive away from the scene), if anything should happen.

8. Be especially wary whenever you see broken glass lying on the road. If the pieces of glass are still scattered across the road, chances are that a smash and grab occurred just recently.

9. If you don’t have smash and grab film installed, leave your window open slightly (approximately 3 cm, but less than 5 cm) whilst driving. This makes the glass more flexible and more resistant against shattering if they’re struck by a sharp object.

10. Fit your window with protective smash and grab film.

You can also read about other safety tips for women while driving and anti-hijack tips.

 

Hijack

10 things women should know when in a hijacking situation

According to News24, in the period 2012/13, carjacking (which is 9% of aggravated robbery) increased by 5.4% and truck hijacking (which is 1% of aggravated robbery) increased by 14.9%. These increases are quite steep and it does make you think, maybe this could happen to you (if it hasn’t happened already). If it does in fact happen to you, have you ever thought about what you would do?

What follows is a list of instructions on how to handle the situation if you are caught in it:

1. When forced to drive with a hijacker, be observant without making direct eye contact and try to memorise as many details about the surroundings, the predator(s) and the weapons as possible.

2. If you are in the situation where the predator has a gun, but you are not under his control, you should try to run. If he does shoot he will only have a small chance of hitting you.

3. If the hijacker is armed and you are under their control and not in the position to escape, remain still and obey the orders of the hijacker.

4. You might think that if you are hijacked you will fight back, but protective forces say it is important to not resist or lose your temper, especially when the hijacker has a weapon.

5. If in fact, the hijacker is only interested in your vehicle, surrender the vehicle and move away. Try to put as much space between you and the predator as quickly as possible.

6. If you have a baby/child on the back seat, which they may not have noticed, make them aware. Tell them that driving away with your child is only going to make things more difficult for them. Ask them if they can fetch your child. Do not move towards the car without their explicit directive. Make the attackers clearly aware that a baby is not a threat.

7. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving. The driver won’t see you but everybody else will.

8. If the hijacker forces you to drive, a good move can be to bump another car while you are still at a slow speed. There is a good chance this will get you out of the situation

9. It is always important to activate the vehicle tracking device if the vehicle is fitted with one.

10. If your vehicle has been hijacked or stolen, promptly report it to the SAPS. Make sure you have the vehicle details available to assist with the recovery of the vehicle.

“Unfortunately this is the reality we live in and it could happen to anyone, especially women. You are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you are a women driving alone it might be wise to keep pepper spray or a stun gun in your car” – SAPS

(Sources: Arrive Alive, SAPS, News24)

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Read this if your car is older than 10 years!

The average age of cars on South African roads is estimated at 13 to 15 years, which is significantly higher than the European figure of between eight and nine years. This means that the overwhelming majority of SA’s 11,3-million registered vehicles have no driver assistance systems such as anti-lock brakes or stability control.

Although ABS and electronic stability control are increasingly fitted as standard to the new vehicles, the reality is that most of the cars on our roads still make do with a far lower safety threshold. This leads to much longer braking distances, particularly in the wet, as well as reduced grip when steering and taking evasive action. Accordingly, it is even more important for owners of these older vehicles to fit the best tyres possible.

“For cars without driver assistance systems, premium tyres are a must,” says Prof Burkhard Wies, Head of Tyre Line Development at Continental. “They deliver high levels of grip when accelerating and braking, as well as precise lateral guidance when cornering. “In hazardous situations, premium tyres offer higher levels of safety, and this is crucial as the sole link between the car and the road is the tyres. This makes them the most important safety system on any vehicle.”

Drivers who opt for cheap tyres because of the low residual value of their cars, or consider premium tyres too expensive, are placing themselves and other road users at risk. “Cheap tyres regularly fail these tests due to their much lower levels of grip and unsafe handling characteristics, especially in the wet,” states Niel Langner, Marketing Manager for Continental Tyre South Africa.

A recent winter tyre test showed that cheap tyres recorded braking distances more than 30% longer compared to those achieved with the equivalent premium tyres. “While this test was focussed on winter tyres, the trend is matched in the segments for summer, 4×4 and commercial tyres too, and could make the difference between avoiding a collision or adding to SA’s already dire road accident statistics,” Langner says.

“Even a minor dent will normally work out more expensive to repair than the difference between cheap tyres and a premium product…”. Despite their critical role in driving safety, tyres are often still considered a grudge purchase. Price remains one of the key deciding factors – both for older cars and even for modern vehicles with the latest safety features.

“We urge motorists to factor in the critical safety benefits offered by premium tyres, which have the benefit of extensive design, research, testing and development,” Langner points out.

Equally, proper tyre maintenance and care is important throughout the year, and specifically during the upcoming festive season with its high traffic volumes and large number of accidents and road deaths.

 

Beautiful businesswoman sending a text while driving

How to save your own life on the road

In South Africa, according to Arrive Alive and Wheels24, distracted driving is described as “an epidemic sweeping our roads”. The National Highway Traffic Administration also puts cellphone use at the top of its list of driving distractions. The Medical Society believes that texting while driving is the most dangerous of all distractions. It’s incredibly dangerous, and everytime you do it, you inadvertently risk your own life.

Elmarie Twilley, spokesperson for Afrikaans insurance brand Virseker, put it this way: “Studies suggest that texting while driving on the road is riskier than driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. People drive more erratically when they’re texting than when they’ve been drinking alcohol.” Well, now this is getting serious…

If you’re an avid ‘texter and driver’, and you know you’re putting yourself in harm’s way, here’s how to stop the habit and be a safer driver according to Virseker.

• If you can’t drive without reaching for your phone and/or texting, then you may be addicted and it’s time for a detox.
• Lock your phone in your car’s boot while driving to avoid temptation.
• Remember that you are not monitoring the road while you are texting, you are relying on the brain’s prediction that nothing was there before. This illusion can lead to tragic results.
• If you’re one of those people who think you can multitask, you are mistaken.
• Remind yourself that just a seconds-worth of lost concentration on the road can result in a fatal accident.
• If you feel disconnected or anxious and experience “cellphone withdrawal” symptoms while driving you need to address the problem.
• Download an App which prevents messages coming through while you are driving and let’s senders know that you’re on the road.

If you still think it’s fine to text and drive, read this heartbreaking story. It will change your life forever.

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Emergency numbers to have when driving on the N2

Due to so many hijacking incidents taking place on the N2 near Cape Town International Airport, we felt it was needed to distribute local emergency numbers. If you are a frequent user of the N2 near the airport, it might be a good idea to put these numbers on speed dial!

ER24: 084 124

City of Cape Town Emergency Control Room: 021 480 7700

Tow Truck Service: 021 703 2233, 082 658 0260

Cape Town Airport Police Station: 021 927 2900

Airport Security: 021 937 1229

Arrive Alive (to report bad an incident): 0861 400 800

Also read: What women need to know about driving alone! 

We also have a list of tips for frequent N2 drivers. We urge everyone to please take note, as these incidents are serious and you don’t want to find yourselves in a situation like that, especially if you’re a woman driving alone.