Be safe on the road this Easter
“Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility and it is imperative that the necessary precautions are taken to mitigate the likelihood of having an accident,” says Marius Neethling, Santam’s manager for personal lines underwriting.
He says despite Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announcing a 26% decline in Easter road deaths – from 201 in 2013 to 148 in 2014 – the number of people dying on our roads over this period is still “staggeringly high”. Speaking at the launch of the Department of Transport’s Easter Road Safety campaign last week, the Minister said passengers and pedestrians accounted for the majority of deaths.
“This figure is still 148 too many people dying on our roads,” says Neethling. He adds that Santam, South Africa’s leading short-term insurer, registered around 6 300 motor damage claims each month due to road accidents. During 2014, the insurer spent R1 895 billion on claims resulting from collisions and vehicles overturning.
“Over the busy holiday period, we can manage the risk associated with the expected increase in road users just by following a few common sense guidelines,” says Neethling. He offers the following tips:
Before your trip:
- Plan your trip in advance – this can help you avoid poor weather and high accident zones.
- Have your car serviced by a qualified service mechanic.
- Make sure your windscreen is undamaged, and check that your wiper blades are not worn out.
- Check the quality of your tyres, the tyre pressure, and ensure your headlights offer good visibility.
On the road you should:
- Always wear a safety belt and make sure all the passengers in the vehicle do to.
- Never disobey the speed limit, and keep a safe following distance.
- Always check your blind spot before changing lanes.
- Stay alert and keep an eye on what is happening around you.
Things to avoid while driving:
- Never drink and drive – about 50% of road deaths in South Africa are alcohol-related.
- Never drive while using your cell-phone – rather install a hands-free kit in your car.
- Always rest when feeling tired – stop every two hours.
- Be on the lookout for obstructions like potholes or animals, especially in rural areas.
“For further peace of mind that you will arrive at a destination safely, Santam has just launched a one-of-a-kind app to enable family members or friends – that you select – to keep track of your progress,” says Neethling. The innovative Santam App with Be Safe functionality will notify your chosen “guardians” once you have reached your destination, and will send them alerts via SMS if you are delayed for some reason.
The app also has an Accident and Incident Reporter which will guide you through a simple, step-by-step process to report, document and submit an accident or incident report directly to your insurer. It is free and for everyone, not only Santam clients.
“Whether taking some time to get out of the city, visiting relatives, or just hopping in the car for a quick shopping trip, we want all South Africans to be safe out there on our country’s roads this Easter,” Neethling concludes.
The Santam claims call centre will be available 24/7 during the Easter holiday period – including on the public holidays.