Researchers from North West University have found interesting data related to South Africa’s fatal road accident trends. The study, published in the South African Journal of Science, considers human factors, as well as environmental and road factors within the results, and reveals some interesting information about the reality of accidents occurring on South Africa’s roads.

Looking at data from 2015, road accidents cost a total of R142.95 billion, 3.4% of South Africa’s GDP. On a more detailed level, the study found that the months with the most fatal car accidents are December at 11.2%,  August at 10.1%, and May and July at 9.2%. These high rates have been attributed, but not limited to increased traffic due to the holiday seasons.

Together with, we look at the reasons for the occurrence of fatal accidents on South Africa’s roads:

  • Blind corners
  • Poor visibility/lighting
  • Animals in the road
  • Poorly maintained road surfaces
  • Road works
  • Wet roads
  • Poor road signs
  • Jaywalking
  • Speeding
  • Burst tyres

Delving deeper, the study found increased accidents during the months of December, August, May and July, but also during weekends between 4pm and 10pm. The majority of fatalities recorded were pedestrians at 37.7%, passengers at 32.8%, drivers at 27% and cyclists at 2.5%. The latest road fatality statistics from Easter 2018, show 510 people were killed over this holiday period, up from 449, a significant 14% increase from the same period the year before.

According to the study, “The historical fatality rates in South Africa as a result of road accidents paint a dire picture. Some sources even report that road accident fatalities may soon surpass the number of deaths attributed to HIV/Aids.” Statistics from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) reinforce this negative picture, revealing that 14 050 people died on the country’s roads in 2017.

With the summer holidays around the corner, here are a few ways to ensure you are safe on the roads, whether you are a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist:

  • Make sure all passengers are wearing a seatbelt
  • Strap children under the age of three into a child seat
  • Take your car for a simple pre-holiday check up before hitting the road
  • Stop regularly for breaks
  • Stick to the speed limit
  • Don’t drive under the influence
  • Wear bright clothing as a cyclist or pedestrian
  • Remember to abide by the rules of the road and only cross a road when the sign says you may do so

With road accidents at an all time high, South Africans can take a number of precautions while on the open road. Fatalities on our roads are not an uncommon occurrence and whether you’re a driver or not, you can take steps to mitigate your risks. While it’s not a fun task to tackle, ensure your Funeral Cover policy is still in place and active, and that you understand what your family will get from it. There are a number of reasons Why Your Funeral Cover Claim Could Be Rejected, and you don’t want your family to be left unprotected financially in the event you're involved in a fatal accident.