With more than 1400 festive season road deaths recorded in 2022/2023, Dialdirect urges motorists to be vigilant during the upcoming December holidays.  According to South African authorities, the road offences that occur most frequently over the festive period are excessive high speed, unsafe overtaking, driving recklessly, overloading, and driving with tyres that don’t meet roadworthy standards.

According to Martin van Wyk, spokesperson for Dialdirect Insurance, “When it comes to car accidents, a never-going-to-happen-to-me mentality is a problem. Many motorists read the statistics and are shocked for a moment, but they rarely see the brutal effects of an accident until it’s too late.”

He highlights just some of the top reality check videos that have been doing the rounds on the internet:

  • This video shows how an 80 km/h crash results in 56% more life-threatening kinetic energy than a 64 km/h crash. (It also shows that an increase to 90 km/h results in an astonishing 95% more kinetic energy.)
  • This one shows how, with a crash at just 40 km/h, seatbelts save lives.
  • In this video, the dire consequences of ignoring a stop sign are made clear.

Dialdirect offers the following advice for motorists travelling over the festive season:


  • Maintain it: Many accidents on South Africa’s roads result from vehicle un-roadworthiness and vehicle component failure, with tyre failure being one of the top culprits. Many motorists also find themselves stranded on the roadside, at the mercy of potential criminals, because of vehicle failure. No matter how you look at it, driving a car not properly maintained and fit for the road compromises your safety.
  • Check it: Before you take to the road, check your vehicle lights, windows and wipers, wheels and tyres, brakes, suspension, battery, belts and chains, cooling system, filters and fluids, safety and warning equipment and child car seats.
  • Load smart: Ensure the load is within your vehicle’s capabilities and adequately secured. Tie a red piece of cloth to the ends of any object that protrudes past your vehicle’s edges. All trailers and caravans must have a safety chain, which helps in the event of towbar failure.


  • Keep the space: Always keep a safe, 2 to 3 seconds following distance.
  • Slow down: Speeding significantly impairs your ability to steer safely around corners and objects in the road and drastically reduces the time you have available to react to a dangerous situation. It not only increases your chances of having an accident, but it also drastically increases the severity of a crash.  According to the World Health Organization, you could save your own or someone else’s life with just a 10 km/h decrease in speed. This small change reduces fatalities by almost 40%.
  • Obey the rules: Don’t overestimate your luck, timing ability or observation skills.  Stop at a red traffic light and stop sign without fail. Choose the correct lane for the speed that you’re travelling. Even with lines permitting overtaking, always ensure it’s safe to do so. Avoid overtaking multiple vehicles in one go.
  • Don’t drink and drive: SA’s legal limit is a breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1000ml or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml. As a rule of thumb, two drinks in one hour will put you over the limit. Remember that you could still be over the limit the morning after. Alternate the alcoholic drinks you do have with soft drinks or water. If you’ve been drinking, do not take a chance and instead call a friend or a taxi.
  • Focus: Avoid driver distractions like eating, drinking, minding kids or using your phone.
  • Decide and act NOW: Plan your turns and highway entrances and exits well in advance to ensure you get into the correct lane early enough. Never switch to a lane if you can’t see what’s both well behind and ahead of you in that lane.
  • Bear other drivers in mind: They must also plan for your vehicle’s movements, so be sure to indicate clearly and timeously. With lane mergers, a ‘zipper’ structure should be followed.
  • Be alert: Always “think bike,” and also watch for heavy vehicles. If you’re behind a truck and can’t see the mirrors, the driver can’t see you.
  • More than you think: A truck with a trailer needs two lanes to turn. Heavy vehicles also need a long distance to stop, so avoid cutting in front of them.


  • Not for long hauls only: Motorists should get at least seven hours of sleep before a long-distance trip and to avoid travelling during their body’s downtime, which for most people is between 2 am and 6 am. If you are battling to keep your eyes open, daydreaming, or swerving into the centre of the road or onto the verge, find a safe place to stop and rest or let another driver take over.
  • Time-out: Plan breaks into your trip, and do not drive when tired. Avoid having sugary or fatty snacks, energy drinks and caffeine to keep you going. Drink lots of water, eat healthy foods and pull over to rest and refresh properly when needed.


  • Pull over: Switch on your hazard lights and, if possible and legal, get to the emergency lane.
  • Be seen: Make sure your vehicle remains visible – use your emergency triangle.
  • Safe zone: If you get stuck in a dangerous spot, get out of your vehicle when it is safe to do so and walk carefully to the side of the road. Ideally, it would be best to remain in your car with locked doors.
  • SOS: Call emergency services and your insurer for assistance.

“All it takes is one moment, one oversight or one lapse in concentration to cause massive damage, serious injury, disability or even loss of life. Being proactively vigilant and making small adjustments could save a life, and it could very well be yours or that of a loved one,” van Wyk concludes. “Despite your best planning, the unforeseen could still happen, so it’s always wise to have good, comprehensive insurance cover in place.”


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