IT’S that time of year again when people take to the road, some ready to travel long distances, in order to make use of an extended Easter weekend to visit family and friends.
Sadly, what is meant to be a time of joy and celebration, annually turns into a time of mourning for many as the spectre of death makes its appearance on South Africa’s roads.
Last year, former Transport Minister Dipou Peters celebrated an achievement which ministers before her had failed to obtain – a 46% cut in road deaths from 287 in 2015 to 156 in 2016.
At the time, Peters attributed this to the high visibility of traffic authorities and the increased willingness of motorists to obey the rules of the road.
The reasons for most accidents remained the same, Peters indicated: fatigue and drunk and/or reckless driving. At major risk were pedestrians not adhering to the rules of the road, leading to accidents.
Enter Easter 2017 and South Africa will face another high-risk period on the roads. People will be travelling, some adhering to the rules of the road and others not, on various routes throughout the country. All will have a common goal in mind: to arrive safely at their destination.
While the government can do as much as humanly possible through awareness campaigns such as Arrive Alive and by monitoring the behaviour of motorists over the weekend, the responsibility still lies with the individuals. Keep in mind the need to rest regularly, stay away from alcohol and be considerate towards your fellow road users.
Oh and while the sight of traffic officers on the side of the road waving you down might elicit a sigh of irritation, rather be grateful. Be grateful for people working to keep you, your family and other motorists safe during a time when they, too, would like to be spending quality time with loved ones.
Take care out there.