As Easter draws near, the need for safe road use by all cannot be over-emphasised. This is especially important for the digital fundis for whom all manner of online stories and conversations are engaged on through Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, particularly while driving and not paying attention of others on the road.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are on average 3,287 deaths every day, and a considerable amount of these are from drivers being distracted either by cell phone use or unconscious driving due to fatigue while driving. On average, 9 of 10 these daily fatalities are related to distracted driving. And yet this cause can easily be prevented. Distracted driving accounts for at least 25% of all motor vehicle crash incidents.
But there is no means to test for distracted driving after an accident occurs, therefore it is widely believed that the number of crashes or accidents, injuries and fatalities of distracted driving are massively under-reported. It only takes 3 seconds after a driver’s attention has been diverted for an accident to occur. Driving really requires massive concentration.
This Easter, the RAF appeals once again to all road users to #AlwaysRemember to be conscious of others when travelling. Be mindful not only of those around you but remain focused on the road while you are behind the wheel. Take the requisite rest breaks and resist the temptation to reach one’s destination quicker by speeding unnecessarily.
Distracted driving is really proof that many of us do not have a road use culture centred on safety. Over 80% of drivers have admitted to blatantly dangerous behaviour while driving, such as eating, changing clothes and steering with a foot. Even some activities that we have normalised, like checking a navigating system, constitute distracted driving and therefore could prove fatal.
Fostering a culture of responsibility across all road users is of paramount importance in South Africa. And this is not only now that we are approaching Easter but throughout the year. It will not only keep the driver and passengers safe but other road users too, such as other drivers and pedestrians. And if road crashes occur, knowing who to engage can be quite a traumatic process, with confusion and at times, reluctance to engage at all.
In the unfortunate event of being involved in a car crash or a loved one sustaining major injuries after a motor vehicle accident, it is important to reach out for care and comfort, in the many ways it presents. The Road Accident Fund (RAF) is always on hand in this regard, with its highly trained personnel available to walk you through the claims process and provide all manner of support to take care of one’s health and financial needs.
The RAF advocates for direct claims in the event of a road crash; this simple three-step submission process makes it easy for claimants to hand in their claims, and through the RAF’s wide network countrywide, the follow up process is much easier, helping road crash victims to take better control of their lives after a traumatic crash. For more information regarding the claims process and what one is eligible to claim for, contact the RAF’s Call Centre on 0860 23 55 23 from Monday to Friday from 07:45 – 16:00. A detailed list of all the RAF’s offices countrywide is available on www.raf.co.za.
For ongoing information, follow the RAF on social media: Twitter, @RAF_SA; Facebook, Road Accident Fund; and Instagram, RAF_ROAD.