How many lives have been changed forever during the past Easter weekend?
Unfortunately many lives have not only changed –but also ended during Easter! I would like to quote from a report by the RTMC:
“The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has earlier today released the preliminary death toll figures for the Easter 2011 holiday break as obtained from the South African Police Services (SAPS). This period was characterized by heavy traffic volumes along all major arterial routes.
The national preliminary death toll for this past Easter weekend stands at 203 fatal crashes whereby at least 203 people have died. The preliminary provincial break -down for fatal crashes are as follows:
Eastern Cape 25
Free State 17
North West 11
Northern Cape 9
Western Cape 7
Why so many fatal crashes?
Initial investigations have revealed the following major contributory factors in most of the crashes that have occurred over this Easter weekend:
• Speeds too high for circumstances, especially during night time and inclement weather;
• Vehicle fitness, particularly, tyre failure and defective brakes;
• Dangerous driving such as barrier line and red light infringements and talking/texting while driving;
• Pedestrian compliance: poor visibility, drinking and walking, jaywalking and walking on freeways.”
Road Deaths and the need for Insurance
It is fair to say that nobody should seek benefit from the death of another – but we also need to face the reality – and insurance needs to be brought to the attention of everyone going unto the roads of South Africa!
On the Mining safety website at www.miningsafety.co.za it has been revealed that 128 mineworkers died in South African mines during 2010. It is estimated that each mineworker has about 8 persons depending on that worker. We have no statistics on the average number of people who might depend on those who passed away in the 203 fatal crashes during Easter- but it is fair to say that many will be placed in severe distress after these fatal crashes.
Not only will they have to continue their lives without a loved one – but in many cases – also have to deal with the loss of a breadwinner. Many would have been left disabled by these crashes and will face not only emotional trauma, but also financial distress.
It is also important to recognize that we can choose a safe occupation, but we cannot avoid the roads. We can improve our driving skills, drive alert and avoid drunk driving – but we cannot avoid sharing the roads with many irresponsible, unlicensed and reckless drivers!
What can we do?
We can do everything from our side to improve our chances of safety on the road. We can avoid late night driving, slow down and follow all the road safety tips from the Arrive Alive website. We can hope and we can pray….
BUT –Perhaps more important – we can prepare for the worst case scenario! We should ask these hard questions:
- “What if I am the unfortunate innocent, disabled or fatal victim of a road crash?”
- “In what position would my wife, children or other dependents find themselves?”
- “Would my business and all the employees survive if I am either disabled or dead?”
- “Would I be able to continue living a meaningful life if I am disabled, and how much of a financial burden would I be on my family?”
We would like to urge all road users to focus on these questions. We do not wish to have negative thoughts or fear death and disaster around every corner – but not to consider financial planning is reckless, irresponsible and stupid!!