South African’s take their December holidays very seriously, we work hard all year round and look forward to the rest, relaxation and fun at the end of the year, spent with friends and family. But the change in routine brings some risk and we need to take care to avoid the holiday turning into a nightmare.
One of the biggest concerns is road safety. South Africa has one of the world’s worst road safety records with 31,9 fatalities / 100 000 people compared to the global average of 18 fatalities / 100 000 people. In last year’s holiday season, 1 612 people were killed, which was a 5% increase on the previous year. In almost 90% of fatalities, the cause was human error.
Here are some ways to stay safe on the road:
Make sure you have plenty of sleep and don’t drive for extended periods of time where fatigue can set in. Stop for a 15 min break every 2 hours.
Be vigilant and drive defensively
Keep a safe following distance
Never drink and drive
Always stick to the speed limit
Everyone in the car should be wearing their seat belts
Don’t take chances with reckless moves on the road
Plan your route carefully and ensure you consider fuel consumption in advance
Make sure your car is properly roadworthy – it’s worth having a safety check and a service before a long drive
Never pick up strangers
Stop only at designated viewing or picnic sites
Don’t use your cell phone while driving.
Safety can be an issue when shopping or touring in an unfamiliar town or city. Always plan carefully, stay alert and be mindful of these tips:
Avoid carrying large amounts of money
Where possible – avoid being alone, always move around in groups of at least 2 or 3
Don’t leave valuable belongings in the trolley
Don’t have your wallet or purse visible – keep your wallet in your front pocket and not the back pocket
Don’t let money be too visible, especially large amounts
Hold your child’s hand and be alert of them at all times – always accompany them to the bathroom
Avoid open displays of expensive jewellery, cameras and other valuables
At night, steer clear of dark, isolated areas
It’s better to explore in groups and stick to well-lit, busy streets
Plan your route beforehand
Be alert at ATMs and avoid using ATMs in dark or isolated areas.
Beach safety is also very important, as the NSRI reports over 2000 drownings every year, 600 of which are children. As a rule of thumb, always swim as close as possible to the lifeguard station and watch children carefully all the time.
Be very careful of rip currents which are powerful, channelled currents of water flowing away from the shore that can quickly pull swimmers out to sea. If you get stuck, one of the most important things is not to fight it, rather swim sideways until you are out of the current. Call for help from a lifeguard as soon as you realise you are in trouble.
Don’t swim alone, make sure that kids are always with a parent or adult. If you’re swimming as a group, leave someone on the shore, preferably with a cell phone who can call for help.
We at Penflex wish you the most fun and relaxation these holidays, but we urge to put safety first, be vigilant and mindful always.