AS THE Easter weekend looms, recent research analysing driving behaviour has revealed that holidaymakers are at considerably greater risk of being involved in an accident.

The research by Discovery Insure, which compares long-distance driving behaviour in holiday seasons during 2014 to driving behaviour during non-holiday seasons, shows drivers are less patient and in more of a hurry, with speeding increasing by 26% during peak holiday times.

South Africa’s road accident fatality rate, one of the highest in the world, costs the economy between 8% and 10% of GDP.

On average, there are more than 200 roads deaths over the Easter holiday period alone.

The data also shows an increase of 5.5% in late-night driving, putting drivers at greater risk of being in an accident by as much as 30%.

“Improving driver behaviour”

is critical to reducing South Africa’s very high road accident and accident fatality rate,” Discovery Insure’s executive director Anton Ossip said.

“It is about each of us taking responsibility and being proactive in improving the way we drive.

Another element of the research focused on determining the risks versus the benefits of speeding and not stopping for breaks during a long journey.

The analysis revealed that driving from Johannesburg to Durban (565km) would take about 5.5 hours if drivers stayed within the speed limit and stopped every two hours for at least 15 minutes.

Driving faster than the speed limit and not stopping will get you in Durban an hour faster, but will double your risk of being in an accident, without factoring in the effects of driver fatigue.

This analysis clearly indicates that the risks of driving unsafely during long journeys outweigh the benefits of getting there faster by a significant margin.

Here are some guidelines for safer travelling this Easter:

  • Avoid leaving on a Friday as the roads are 15% busier, with worse driving. People drive worse on a Friday with increases of between 15-20% in harsh acceleration, braking, and cornering events, as well as speeding.
  • Take regular breaks to freshen up and avoid loss of concentration.
  • Drive better by accelerating, braking, and cornering smoothly and driving within the speed limit. Improving these driving behaviours reduces the risk of having an accident by more than half.
  • Completing a vehicle safety check before leaving reduces your risk of having an accident by 15%.
  • Avoid driving at night (between 10pm and 4am) – the chances of being in an accident late at night are 10 times higher than any other time of day.

Article credit: