Expert advice on how to stay safe when travelling this Easter

Netcare 911 Spokesperson, Sarah Kekana. Picture: Supplied

Netcare 911 Spokesperson, Sarah Kekana. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 22, 2024


For South Africans, the Easter holiday is a peak travel period with many preparing to travel for leisure and religious reasons. It’s no secret that when it comes to road travel, a high number of accidents are also recorded during this time.

According to Sarah Kekana, Netcare 911 spokesperson, as thousands of travellers set off for their well-deserved rest and relaxation or worship time, the staff of Netcare 911 will be hard at work, ready to provide emergency medical care if help is needed.

As part of efforts to reduce fatalities, Kekana has urged those who can to avoid travelling on peak traffic days, which this year fall on Friday, 29 March, and Monday, 1 April.

“These are often high-incident days on the road due to traffic congestion. Plan your route in advance and take note of any alternate routes you could utilise in case of any unexpected delays or road closures,” said Kekana.

Plan your travel

According to Kekana, it doesn’t take long to ensure your car is ready and roadworthy before your trip. She said that this basic vehicle check at home could save you time and money once you hit the road.

Kekana advised travellers to ensure that your car lights and breaks are working, the tread and condition of your tyres are safe for driving, and to make sure your spare tyre is inflated.

“Check that the tools needed to change a tyre are on hand. Top up your water, oil and windscreen washer liquid and make sure that your driver’s licence and car licence are up to date,” said Kekana.

She also advised that you have a first aid kit in your car packed with a variety of bandage sizes, scissors and tweezers and paracetamol tablets and syrup.

“Also, check in advance if you need any prophylactic medication or vaccines for the area you’ll be travelling to. Parts of South Africa are malaria areas, mainly along the border areas of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, so make sure you take anti-malarial medication as required.

“Pregnant women should get medical advice about travelling to malaria areas and whether it is safe for them to drive long distances,” she said.

She also said that its important to take any prescription medication with you when travelling and advised travellers to have insect repellent on hand when travelling to these areas.

Exercise caution when driving

Kekana advised travellers, especially drivers to be patient when driving as the roads will be busy, and it is important to have consideration for other road users.

“Keep your cool because when tempers flare on the roads, the outcome can be fatal. Remember, the driver must ensure that everyone is buckled up safely in their seats. Babies and children should be strapped into reliable, age-appropriate car seats,” she advised.

The spokesperson cautioned drivers not to engage in distracted driving in order to keep those travelling with them safe.

“Ask a passenger to monitor traffic reports and alerts on X (formerly Twitter) and road travel apps for you. Listen to the local regional radio service to tune into their traffic reports,” said said.

Kekana also cautioned drivers to stick to the speed limit and for them to not drive if they have consumed alcohol or taken drugs.

“There’s no harm in listening to a podcast or your favourite music to keep the boredom at bay while the kilometres roll by. Just make sure to get a passenger to find and play them for you,” she said.

Kekana also recommended that drivers keep a safe following distance when driving, stop every two hours in well-lit safe areas away from the roadside to stretch your legs and rest whilst also keeping well-hydrated whilst driving.

Help is on hand

In closing, Kekana said that if the unthinkable happens and you need help in a medical emergency, contact Netcare 911 on 082 911 or download the Netcare App in advance to easily reach them.