Share the road in a positive spirit – you are not in competition with other drivers
General Manager of the Automobile Association, Hileni Tjivikua, said the safety focus for the upcoming holidays is this year on both passengers and driver, signalling a change of tack to the past when the roadsafety focus was almost entirely on drivers and roadworthiness.
“Typically, the driver has been the main focus of road safety campaigns and programme,” she said adding that it is now widely recognised in preventative strategies that passengers have a significant impact on the driver’s ability to stay focussed on the road. Furthermore, passengers cover the same distances as drivers so their safety is almost entirely in the hands of the driver.
“The passenger’s influence on the driver’s behaviour has been practically overlooked in the growth of such campaigns. Little is currently known about the patterns of communication that exist between drivers and passengers, and the effect this interplay has on driver behaviour to influence safety. If the behavioural interactions that take place between drivers and passengers were better understood, it would be possible to develop countermeasures for enhancing the positive role of passengers and minimising the negative role of passengers on driver behaviour. These countermeasures would be expected to have considerable safety benefits for drivers and passengers alike,” she explained.
Looking at the practicalities of safety, Tjivikua advised that all passengers must ensure at all times that they wear safety belts and that they refrain from interference with the driver but added that passengers have the right to tell a driver when he is speeding, and to check a vehicle for road safety.
To drivers, her advice includes not driving at night, keeping within the speed limit, regular rests, zero alcohol consumption, and to avoid driving when under duress.
“Learn to understand the language of driving (Communication). Meaning when others are indicating that your lights are blinding them, dim your lights, do not ignore them. When other drivers are indicating to overtake do not accelerate, rather reduce speed to allow them to pass. Remember you are not in competition when on the road. Share the road positively at all times,” she said.