How to drive during load-shedding

Arrive Alive recently released its advice to drivers for navigating South African roads during load-shedding.

“There is not much that the average person can do about power failures affecting traffic lights and traffic flow – the correct driving attitude can, however, go a long way in preventing collisions,” said Arrive Alive.

“It is suggested, where possible, that drivers plan their routes and leave early to try and avoid the heavy traffic periods.”

Arrive Alive warned drivers to be extra cautious when the power is out because people may be distracted or impatient.

“Many people are impatient because they are late due to the above-mentioned conditions and may take unnecessary risks,” said Arrive Alive.

“Many other motorists are also stuck or delayed and may be using their cellphones and possibly not concentrating fully on the road.”

Arrive Alive’s driving advice for specific scenarios during load-shedding is below.

Traffic lights and intersections

  • If traffic lights are not working the crossing becomes a stop street or a four way stop.
  • You must stop even if there is no traffic from the other roads.
  • If the vehicle in front of you crosses the intersection you must let the vehicles from the other stops enter the crossing before you take off.
  • Be polite and pass swiftly while remaining cautious of possible offenders.
  • Be aware of the sequence of vehicles from other directions approaching the intersection.
  • Do not tailgate the vehicle in front of you.
  • Be alert to innocent mistakes – do not become a victim of road rage and refrain from rude gestures.

Poor street lighting

  • Power outages could remove street lighting, making it difficult for motorists to spot road hazards.
  • Slow down to increase the time to evade possible dangers.
  • If there is no oncoming traffic it is advisable to drive with your lights on bright.
  • One of the road safety slogans is “Be Visible Be Seen!”. Load-shedding makes this even more important.
  • Turn your vehicle’s headlights on to make yourself more visible to other road users – even during the day.

Safety from criminals

  • Motorists must be aware of the dangers of criminals lurking in the dark.
  • During load-shedding, it is possible that hijackers and “smash and grab” criminals might see an opportunity.

General advice

  • Ensure that your cellphone is always fully charged when power is available.
  • Ensure that your vehicle always has fuel in the tank.
  • Keep temporary lighting readily available, such as torches.
  • Try to acquaint yourselves with schedules for load-shedding.
  • Do not vent your frustrations on the roads.

Now read: How load-shedding takes down mobile networks

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How to drive during load-shedding