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Driving on South African Roads: You’re Probably Doing it Wrong

Published on: 01 June 2015

For the most part, South African drivers can be commended for the environment in which they are required to drive and handle their vehicles. However, as road safety statistics reveal, local drivers are required to develop and maintain the type of driving habits that ensure safety and security.

As the years after we receive our driver’s license pass by, we pick up and develop habits that lead to lazy driving. Often, this laziness allows us to fall into a comfortable complacency that lends itself to error. And, in turn, we assume that most drivers are covered with reliable vehicle insurance  in the event of an accident. This assumption can lead to major distress as, according to Arrive Alive, more than 65% of South African drivers are uninsured.

Despite the habits and statistics, have you ever thought about how your driving skills and habits affect other drivers on the roads? You may believe that no one can fault your skills - however, here are just a few of the things that South Africans get wrong:

Not Wearing your Seatbelt

Wearing a seatbelt is a driving habit that cannot be encouraged enough. When it comes to driving, South Africans are certainly doing it wrong when it comes to taking care of their own safety within their vehicles. Your best weapon against erratic drivers is to buckle up tightly.

Not Maintaining your Vehicle

The maintenance of your vehicle is as much a part of being a safe driver as learning how to properly steer your vehicle. South African car owners are in the habit of not maintaining their vehicles, yielding a higher number of un-roadworthy vehicles that travel on local roads. This poses a daily risk to the drivers and to other road users. Be sure to beat the trend by regularly maintaining your vehicle with regular services, and perform regular checks on your tyres, windscreen, lights and breaks. If you’re not already equipped with it, compare car insurance quotes from reputable insurance companies.

Not Checking your Blind Spot

This is a habit with which we are all familiar. To ensure your own safety, and that of others, be sure to check your blind spots before turning, changing lanes or reversing out into a public area.

Not Knowing How to Use a Traffic Circle

South Africans seem to prove, over and over again, that they don’t know how to use traffic circles. Found in the most inopportune spaces of road, traffic circles are often a hotspot for bumper-bashing incidents. To avoid any damage to your vehicle or that of another driver, remember to always give way to the right – as well as to any traffic already in the circle. Watch MiWay’s educational video “How to use a single-lane traffic circle”.

Skipping through Traffic Lights

One of the most prevalent accident zones is that of intersections with traffic lights. In many instances, drivers skip through orange or red lights, resulting in accidents that range in severity. To prevent damage and improve on your own driving skills, practice safe driving habits by stopping at traffic lights when they turn orange. Keep an eye on your rear-view mirror, though – as the driver behind you may not expect you to slow down for an orange light.

When it comes to driving on South African roads and you find that you’re doing it wrong, there should always time to rectify your mistakes and habits before they pose a danger to other drivers. While you’re double-checking your driving habits, be sure to check on your car insurance policy too.

Want to learn more about road safety?  Check out the eBook A Guide to Road Safety in South Africa.