Brian Joss –
As if the crisis of bad manners on our roads wasn’t enough, now the energy crisis has thrown load shedding and non-functioning robots into that mix and created a situation which is downright dangerous, says group marketing executive, Joe du Plooy. Given that you can’t do a thing about these variable: how do you ensure your own road safety in the midst of this madness?
“You drive for everyone else on road, or to use the technical term, you drive defensively. That’s all you can do,” says Du Plooy. “We must take responsibility for our own road safety.”
The term defensive driving sounds like something you might see in a Hollywood car chase, but it’s about much more than just swerving out of the way of out-of-control cars.
Here are some pointers:
- Make sure your car is roadworthy – that the tyres have sufficient tread and are properly inflated, that the brakes are working and the car is running well. This will enable you to come to a timely stop, accelerate out of trouble and keep your wheels on the road if you need to swerve suddenly.
- Check your mirrors. Always know who is to your front, rear, left and right, adjust your speed to make space when drivers are too close, and try to anticipate their next move. Most people start turning before they indicate. Your awareness is your only defense against these incoming missiles.
- Don’t lose your cool, especially when load shedding leaves robots out of order and traffic gridlocked. Take a deep breath and pay extra attention so you don’t miss your turn at the intersection, or get sideswiped by someone going out of turn. Nerves will be frayed and people frustrated by their inability to get where they’re going on time, and you don’t want to stir the pot and fuel a road rage incident.
“Anticipation is the most important element of defensive driving. You can’t let your guard down for a minute. If you see someone driving recklessly, let them pass and keep your distance, because the chances are good that they will cause an accident. Always assume that others won’t indicate, so keep a safe following distance to compensate for this. Be alert at intersections. Even if the light is green for you, that’s no guarantee that another driver won’t skip the red light,” says Du Plooy.
Finally, if you have an important meeting, or need to get to the airport on time, check the load shedding schedule that applies to your route, and either leave earlier or reschedule.