What NOT To Do On A National Highway

With the amount of car accidents constantly on the rise, we take a look at what NOT to do on highways to avoid being part of the statistics.
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Published: Wednesday, March 8th 2017
General
With a growing number of road accidents each year, it’s clear not all commuters are taking their road safety as seriously as they should. Unfortunately, there are some who do, but still fall into the crossfire of other negligible drivers. One of the golden rules of driving is to make responsible choices. Ego does not belong on the road and is often the root cause of accidents. An important lesson to remember is to “drive like everyone around you does not know how to drive”.  This can prove useful in times when you ‘think’ a driver is going to act in a certain way and then doesn’t.

What NOT To Do On a National Highway

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road injuries killed 1.3 million people in 2015 with car accidents making the top 10 causes of death.

According to Regulation 323 of the National Road Traffic Act, there are a number of things a motorist must not do on our national freeways.

Ride In Certain Modes Of Transport

A motorist may not travel in the following ways:
  1. Operate a vehicle pulled by an animal.
  2. A pedal cycle.
  3. A motorcycle with a cylinder capacity of less than 50 cubic centimetres (cm3).
  4. A motor tricycle or quadricycle.
  5. A vehicle with a mass of less than 230 kilograms (kg), which is specifically designed for use by a person suffering from a physical defect or disability, i.e.: a wheelchair.
  6. A tractor or haulage tractor.

NOT Use a Hands-Free Device Whilst Driving

According to the AA, the Act further recognises the need for motorists to be in touch with others telephonically, and specifically created an exception where a motorist may make use of his or her cellphone when the communication device is affixed to the motor vehicle, or to an appropriate form of head gear. There have been many incidents as a result of a motorist handling their cellphones whilst driving. Whilst many would call this 'distracted driving', as the driver's focus is not completely focused on the road and the cars around it, a Bluetooth headset or another similar device is allowed.

Drink Whilst Driving

Another equally important prohibition relates to the consumption of alcohol. The National Road Traffic Act expressly prohibits a driver consuming alcohol beyond the allowed legal limit. There is often an issue when interpreting the legal limit, however, as it almost always depends on the driver itself. The level of intoxication depends on how fast alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream, as well as its related effects, such as the driver’s mass, metabolism, etc.

Drive Recklessly

The National Road Traffic Act furthermore prohibits reckless, negligent, and inconsiderate driving. Motorists are prohibited from driving without due regard for other motorists. They may not drive in a manner that is detrimental and hazardous to the safety of other road users and includes speeding.

NOT Wear a Seatbelt

While this should be fairly straightforward, a large proportion of drivers still fail to wear their seatbelt whilst operating a moving vehicle. The National Road Traffic Act states in Regulation 213, 3 (C), "No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public road, unless the seatbelts fitted to such motor vehicle are in good working order." Failure to wear a seatbelt in a moving vehicle is responsible for thousands of deaths on SA roads each year. According to Arrive Alive, national statistics showed that 84% of children did not wear a seatbelt.

Drive While Tired

If you drive whilst tired or drowsy, you are putting yourself and others in immediate danger. According to the Western Province Government, driver fatigue can be fatal. Many drivers could experience driver fatigue for a number of reasons:
  • Working a night shift
  • Driving after more than 15 hours of being awake
  • Getting behind the wheel with less than five hours of sleep
  • Driving for longer time periods or distances
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