16th January 2018
Mannheim (Germany) in 1885 saw the first automobile being manufactured by Karl Benz. A few years later saw the first vehicle arrive in South Africa in 1896. The vehicle was in actual fact a Benz Velo that arrived in Port Elizabeth and was transported by train to be displayed to Paul Kruger in Pretoria in 1897. This was the true beginning of the automobile industry in South Africa and because of it, we find ourselves living in the world of excise manufacturing precision that we have today.
Coupled with great vehicles comes the challenge of having suitable drivers. If you have a high-performance vehicle, one would be expected to have been for an advanced driving course of some sort to ensure that the driver fully understands the vehicle’s capability and how to suitably control such in various day-to-day commuting. That being said, if you have an ordinary day-to-day vehicle, you will also need to ensure you are extremely alert when managing your vehicle on the South African roads and possibly in neighboring African countries if you are traveling over-boarder during the holiday season.
Being alert whilst driving is one of the most crucial driving tips to note. My father, wise as he is, would always tell me when I was a young boy, “Son, do you see all these cars around us?! When you are behind the wheel of a vehicle you are responsible for all of them.” Always make sure you are alert when you are driving. Do not drive when you are tired because you could fall asleep whilst driving and put your life and the lives of others in danger. Do not drink and drive. Not only is it a felony, but it is extremely dangerous. Be observant of the motorists around you but more so at intersections, stop streets and interchanges etc. Always ensure your windscreen is clean and clear and that you are checking your mirrors regularly.
Buckle up. Wearing a seatbelt could determine whether you survive an accident or not. In 2016, 14071 fatalities occurred on South African roads and 77.5% of that was due to human error. Imagine how many lives could have been saved if each of us were a little more careful on the roads. Many vehicles released today have airbags and these airbags are only activated when your seatbelt is on. The millennial mindset may impose that “it’s not cool” to wear a seatbelt but if you ask a mother of a victim who didn’t wear a seatbelt if she would have asked her child to buckle up, I’m certain her response would be, “Absolutely.”
Follow the speed limit. The speed limits on South African roads are put in place to protect us. We often feel rushed or hurried but this comes down to poor planning and unaccounted-for delays. If you are late for a meeting, notify the parties waiting for you and drive at the regulated speed limit. I assure you, arriving 10min late and being alive would have more value than not arriving at all. Keep to the speed limit and a safe following distance and you will reduce the chance of having an accident by 14.1% (Based on 2016 road fatality stats in South Africa).
The above serves as a guideline to all motorists who use South African roads, be it daily or occasionally. We all have one life and we need to do everything in our power to ensure our safety by educating ourselves on the various perils that exist in our world today. From all of us at B-Sure Africa Insurance Brokers, we would like to wish you all safe travels and a joyous extended life.