Pedestrian accidents are a massive concern in South Africa due to poor infrastructure and excessively bad driving habits, but there are some things you can do to avoid these or at least minimise damage.
According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), the number of fatalities on South African roads increased by 10% last year (the 2017 report will be released early next year). That is a massive increase and, according to the RTMC’s annual report, pedestrians account for 38.4% of all road fatalities, whilst vehicle passengers account for 32.7% and drivers for 25.6%.
When you look at the stats, it’s clear that local road conditions are in poor shape, but infrastructure and unroadworthy vehicles are responsible for only a small portion of the death toll on local roads. Data collected by the RTMC indicates that 80% of all fatal accidents are caused by human error – which means they can’t be blamed on external factors – we’re responsible.
Accounting for nearly 40% of road fatalities, it’s clear that pedestrian accidents are a major concern on our roads. Many factors are to blame, ranging from poor infrastructure (pedestrian crossings are sparse), poor law enforcement (not enough is done to discourage pedestrians from illegally crossing highways), all-round poor driving skills (many drivers don’t slow down or stop at pedestrian crossings), and alcohol consumption (drivers and pedestrians).
Most of us know that many of the intrinsic problems are not going to be solved quickly, and it’s up to drivers and pedestrians to be as vigilant as possible to avoid such accidents.
According to Arrive Alive, motorists need to be aware of the following:
In addition to the above tips, South African motorists should keep pedestrian safety in mind when buying new cars as well. Most new cars have crumple zones designed to do minimal damage in the event of a pedestrian accident, and some have warning systems (such as park assist technology) that warns you if something, or someone, is in the vehicle’s path.
It may sound a bit ‘too much’ to add pedestrian safety to your checklist when shopping for a new set of wheels, but the reality is that 38.4% of all road deaths last year were pedestrians – a clear indication that everyone needs to their part to start reducing the number of pedestrian accidents on our roads.
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