Reckless driving continues to rank as one of the top causes of motor vehicle crashes on the N3 Toll Route. It constitutes a number of aggressive or dangerous driving techniques such as tail-gaiting, speeding, ignoring traffic control measures, swerving between lanes, general impatience, annoyance and intolerance towards other road users, or any deliberate actions which are likely to increase the risk of collisions.
Reckless drivers often commit a number of traffic offenses posing a danger to themselves and other persons sharing the road with them.
“It is worrying to note how many drivers, especially at peak times such as school holidays, become impatient in traffic and as a result adopt unsafe driver behaviour, disregard safety and violate traffic laws,” says Miles le Roux, transport engineer at N3 Toll Concession (N3TC).
N3TC, manages the N3 Toll Route between Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal and Heidelberg in Gauteng, and monitors all incidents and crashes along the N3 Toll Route. Data is collected and analysed and additional road safety measures are implemented where appropriate.
713 crashes were recorded on the N3 Toll Route between January and August 2016.
41,5% of these crashes were single light motor vehicle crashes with 42.6% of all fatalities recorded during this period being from single vehicle crashes.
21,7% of crashes during the same period were caused by single heavy motor vehicles with 11,5% of the total number of fatalities recorded in these crashes.
“The general attitude of South African drivers remains poor. The majority of all crashes on the N3 Toll Route are due to human behavior and errors of judgement. Generally, it seems drivers show little respect for themselves, other road users and the law. They seem to be proud of breaking the law and getting away with it,” says le Roux.
The top contributory factors to crashes on the N3 Toll Route from January to August 2016 indicates that human behavior remains the top cause of crashes. 65% of all crashes were caused by human error.
The dominant types of crashes on the N3 Toll Route during the first part of 2016 are:
- Vehicles rolling – 23,8%
- Vehicles leaving the road – 22,0%
- Head Tail (moving and stationary vehicles) – 14,4%
“Drivers need to be aware of just how dangerous driving actually is. They are often not skilled enough for the speeds and conditions they encounter on the road. If we truly want to overcome our road safety challenges, drivers will have to take responsibility for their actions and change their behavior.”
N3TC works in close cooperation with the various law enforcement agencies along the route to implement various interventions in an attempt to enhance the safety of all road users. The company deploys significant resources to address road safety concerns. These interventions include amongst others speed over distance monitoring, road blocks, alcohol and drug screening tests, and providing specialised training for law enforcement agencies.
During various road safety operations, it was noted that many drivers intentionally remove their number plates in order to transgress the law without getting caught.
N3TC also operates a Route Control Centre (RCC) which manages all incidents along the N3 Toll Route and provides traffic and route updates and assistance to stranded road users between Heidelberg and Cedara.
The Route Control Centre diligently manages the N3 Incident database which is currently the only database of its kind in South Africa. “It enables us to identify hotspots along the N3 Toll Route and gives a better understanding of the type of incidents and how to manage and mitigate these. Without proper data it is near impossible to know which resources are required where, and how to intervene to ensure overall improved road safety. But, despite our best efforts, real change will only be achieved if individual drivers and vehicle owners also make road safety their utmost priority,” ends le Roux.
Risk of uncontrolled fires remain high
Extremely dry conditions are still being experienced along the N3 Toll Route which increases the risk of of destructive veld fires.
“We appeal to road users to take every precautionary measure to limit the risk of veld fires. With high winds and under these dry conditions, veld fires occur quickly and spread rapidly over vast areas causing great danger to life and property,” says le Roux.
Immediately report any unattended fires and/or smoke along or near the N3 Toll Route to the 24-hour N3TC Route Control Centre on 0800 63 4357 (0800 N3 HELP); or Twitter: @N3Route.