Local roads see an increase in fatalities during the month of February

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Are Newcastle’s roads becoming more dangerous, with roadside fatalities becoming more and more prevalent?

According to Jan-Henk van Vuuren, WATCO Emergency Medical Service, fatalities on Newcastle’s roads are becoming a major cause of concern.

He explains that from February 1 until now, February 25, approximately 17 people have died and nearly 30 people were injured in the Amajuba District.

In the first major collision, February 1, six people died, and one person was injured when three bakkies collided on the N11 near Kilbarchan.

This collision was followed by another incident, when a woman died on the R34, between Newcastle and Utrecht, when her bakkie overturned.

Photo credit: Jan-Henk van Vuuren, WATCO Emergency Medical Services

Van Vuuren adds that on February 9, another five people lost their lives when two vehicles collided on the P483, near Madadeni. This was followed by another person dying, after they were hit by a vehicle, also in Madadeni.

Two more people died in Madadeni, Section 1; when the vehicle they were travelling in was involved in an accident.

On February 21, a man was killed, and another was critically injured, after their car collided with a truck on the R34, between Newcastle and Memel.

On Sunday, February 23, a man lost his life after his vehicle collided into a tree along Drakensberg Road.

Photo credit: Jan-Henk van Vuuren, WATCO Emergency Medical Services

“February has been a bad month. If you look at the other months, February has been one of the deadliest,” van Vuuren says.

In fact, van Vuuren says the fatalities during the month of February are higher than those of December.

What is the cause of the increase of fatalities?

“People often have the mindset that it won’t happen to them. They tend to think they are good drivers and collisions only happen to other people.”

Van Vuuren says other contributing factors are seen in recent trends. “Speed is a contributing factor, especially with the trend of buying supercars and people driving them at ridiculous speeds.”

“Another trend is where people take their cell phones and either take a video or photo of their speedometer and post it on social media,” van Vuuren says.

While taking a photograph or video of their speedometer might take a few seconds, it is in moments such as these, where a motorist’s concentration is not focused on the road that a collision can take place.

As February has seen an increase in roadside fatalities, van Vuuren says WATCO Emergency Medical Services and other emergency personnel are currently gearing up for Easter, which will be taking place in April.

“Easter last year was a nightmare,” he emphasises, reflecting on the severity of roadside fatalities and collisions.

The biggest contributing factors to the collisions were alcohol, speed and fatigue from travelling long distances over a short period of time. Overloading vehicles was also a contributing factor to the number of deaths.

How can motorists minimise their chances of being involved in a collision?

Van Vuuren has suppled safety tips for motorists to follow:

  • During wet road conditions, reduce speed and switch on your headlights,
  • Check your vehicle’s tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres on a regular basis. Also, ensure your vehicle’s shock absorbers are in good condition, as they have a major impact on how your vehicle handles.
  • Know your vehicle and be familiar with how it handles during different weather conditions, adapting your driving behaviour accordingly.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and actions of other road users. “One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to drive with the attitude of I’m a good driver, it won’t happen to me,” van Vuuren emphasises.
  • Don’t drive when you are tired, under the influence or not feeling well.

With the increase of roadside fatalities, be sure to adhere to the traffic laws and follow Jan-Henk van Vuuren’s advice. Your actions can save a life.

What do you feel are the biggest contributing factors? And how do you feel roadside fatalities can be minimised? Share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comment section below.

Photo credit: Jan-Henk van Vuuren, WATCO Emergency Medical Services
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