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With this winter upon us, the possibility of tragic road crashes are increased with the hazard of reduced visibility on our roads caused by overcast weather conditions such as rain, mist, fog, lack of light etc.

Along with the reduced visibility are unpredictable driver behaviours, including excessive or variable speeds, following too closely, distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and other bad driver behaviour which increases the potential of road crashes.

Because of the ongoing problems associated with reduced visibility, emphasis on countermeasures should be second nature to road users, such as:

  • Switch on headlights on during the day - headlights can reduce the incidence of daytime crashes of four-wheeled vehicles by 10–15%. The use of car daytime running lights can also reduce pedestrian and cyclist collisions.
  • Try and invest in high-mounted brake lights, positioned on the back windscreen of cars, increase their visibility. The use of these brake lights has led to a 15–50% reduction in rear-end crashes.
  • Adding reflective strips at the back of trucks and trailers and even your regular motor vehicle.

  • As a pedestrian, always wear colourful/ bright clothing or/ and accessories to be more visible to all road users. Do not walk in the road but on the pavement. If there is no pavement, walk as near to the edge as possible, facing the oncoming traffic. Reflective armbands or reflective strips on clothing or book cases could also enhance visibility of scholars.

When driving in South Africa, it is important to consider local conditions. Many informal settlements in South Africa are situated next to highways –thereby increasing the risk of further pedestrian fatalities. Children attending schools in rural communities walk several kilometres next to the roads to and from their schools. It is important for motorists not only to concentrate on their own ability to see – but also on the ability of other motorists and road users to see them.

GRSP ZA would like to urge all drivers and pedestrians to seriously take all these measures into account when travelling the roads this season.

Please keep warm and safe this winter!

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Michelin Road Safety Youth Ambassadors Programme in BelaBela, Limpopo Province in South Africa. The programme, funded by the Michelin Corporate Foundation, has an aim to involve the local youth in addressing road safety issues in their communities, through spreading new skills and knowledge learned at the trainings to be provided by GRSP and YOURS.

The project is supported by the provincial Department of Transport, Department of Education and managed by GRSP South Africa. The project implemented across 5 different regions across the Limpopo province, in approximately 32 schools covering 4,000 scholars (Grade 10-12).

The selected youth ambassadors received special road safety training by by YOURS, which involved a 5-day intensive course during which participants were trained on the following topics:

  • Peer Education
  • Scope of the Road Safety Problem – in the world and in South Africa
  • Youth and Road Traffic Injuries
  • Distracted Driving
  • Speeding
  • Seat-belts
  • Drink and Drug Driving
  • Facilitation Skills
  • Presentation Skills
  • Developing a Youth and Road Safety Workshop
  • Spreading the Message
  • Action Planning

Thereafter, the Youth Ambassadors started a Driver Training Programme (K53, Driver license training, advance and defensive and advance driving), that was developed by MasterDrive South Africa, GRSP South Africa and Michelin.

Thus far, the Youth Ambassadors have been introduced to schools across the Limpopo Province. The school principals have welcomed the youth ambassadors, and also have provided them with teaching time slots during the Life Orientation school periods, where youth ambassadors cover topics such as Road Safety at schools, Road Safety Road Clubs and Projects and Risk factors of Road Safety.

They have also conducted a road safety surveys with their communities and at their respective schools, using road safety survey forms, conducting interviews with the general public and traditional leaders, conducting observations at schools in the morning and after school etc.

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