Tips for safe driving on the highway

Getting anywhere fast in South Africa means taking the highway, but the added speed and volume of cars present of the country’s main motorways means that there is an increased chance that something could go wrong. According to the Automobile Association of South Africa, there are a number of techniques that drivers can use which will help them avoid dangerous situations on these busy thoroughfares.

Related: #16 Defensive Driving Techniques That Could Save Your Life

  1. Service your car:
    Breakdowns, an unwelcome scenario at the best of times, are significantly more dangerous and difficult to deal with on the highway. Preventative maintenance – ensuring that your car is in the best working condition possible, and not waiting for something to go wrong before taking it for a service – is the best way to avoid making a bad situation worse.
  2. Keep calm:
    There’s nothing more stressful than driving on the highway with irresponsible or reckless drivers. While it may be difficult to keep your temper in check when the actions of others may be putting you and your family in danger, it’s essential that you stay calm and confident, avoiding distraction and confrontation.
  3. Plan your route:
    Be aware of any weather or traffic conditions that may affect your journey before you set out. There are a number of good traffic reports on the radio and on social media, and accurate weather forecasts are easy to come. Also, if you’ve never driven a certain route before, try to practice it before using it for an important journey. If possible, plan a back-up route.
  4. Know your road rules:
    No matter the situation, it is important that you stick to the rules of the road. Speed limits are there to protect everyone, including you – just because a road seems empty doesn’t make it ok to speed, as accidents happen in a fraction of a second, and speeding affects your response and reaction times. Always use your indicators, and make sure you and your passengers are wearing seatbelts at all times. Just because your journey just started doesn’t mean that you can’t be in an accident – 70% of all accidents happen within 1 km of the driver’s home.
  5. Onramps:
    When you enter the highway using an onramp, make sure you check your mirrors and blind spots before merging with the lane. Indicate before changing lanes, and try to reach the same speed as traffic before merging.
  6. Put down your phone:
    Looking at your phone while driving is illegal for a reason – any distraction on the road is dangerous, and one that requires you to look away from the road and take your hands off the wheel can be deadly. Remember to be careful when speaking to someone over the phone, even if it’s hands-free.

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