South Africa

Traffic and crash data provide numerous safety clues

Crash data reveals that human error remains the highest contributing factor to crashes

N3TC monitors traffic patterns, all incidents and crashes along the N3 Toll Route on an on-going basis.
N3TC monitors traffic patterns, all incidents and crashes along the N3 Toll Route on an on-going basis.
Image: Supplied/N3TC

The N3 Toll Route is one of the busiest roads in SA. Thousands of trucks move up and down the N3 daily constituting more than 30% of traffic and carry an average of 50m tons of freight along this corridor a year. 

Daily commuters and leisure travellers also make use of this route which crosses four provinces, namely Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. At peak times, traffic volumes can increase in excess of 2,000 vehicles per hour. 

N3TC monitors traffic patterns, all incidents and crashes along the N3 Toll Route on an on-going basis. Once collated, analysed and interpreted this data gives concrete evidence to traffic patterns, contributory factors to crashes and any other road safety shortfalls.

Crash data reveals that human error remains the highest contributing factor to crashes. 

From a total of 856 crashes reported between January and September this year, 294 cars and 226 trucks were involved in single vehicle crashes. 

“Single vehicle crashes – the direct result of human error – are by far the majority type of crashes on the N3 Toll Route,” says Miles le Roux, N3TC’s transport engineer. Our crash data speaks volumes with regards to road safety and where serious individual interventions are required.”

Of the total number of crashes recorded during the first nine months of 2019, the main types of crashes were single vehicles leaving the road and single vehicles rolling; thereafter followed head-tail collisions; side swipes and multiple pile-ups. These factors all point to negligent driving; speeding; a general lack of concentration or being distracted; ignoring road signs and/or vehicles in a poor mechanical order leading to brake failure or tyre bursts – all avoidable if drivers would just pay closer attention.   

“It would not be difficult to bring the number of these types of crashes down, but it will require a committed effort from drivers to adhere to the rules of the road, to drive more defensively and to guard against complacency,” says le Roux.

Complacency is one of the most damaging risks to good intentions to prevent and reduce road traffic injuries, crash traumas and fatalities. It lowers your concentration and attention span, making you more vulnerable. You become less focused, less decisive, and more reactive than proactive in your actions. On the road, this state of mind can be extremely detrimental. “Too often driving simply becomes a means to an end; a way of getting from point A to B. But little slips, tiny misjudgments, taking chances and cutting corners can quickly become lifelong regrets,” says le Roux. 

Remember to buckle-up and drive safely.
Remember to buckle-up and drive safely.
Image: Supplied/N3TC

Be sure to keep focused and safe on the road 

Avoid distractions, such as using your mobile devices or allowing interferences from your passengers, while you are driving. Make sure that you stay alert at all times, and stop to rest and refresh the minute that you feel your concentration starts to wane.  

Plan your route carefully and stay informed 

The rapid development of information and social media technologies now makes it possible to share relevant road traffic and safety news updates far quicker. Stay informed about the N3 Toll Route, and road and traffic conditions ahead. 

“N3TC uses tried and tested methods to engage with our road users. We often notice how real-time traffic information assists to create better-informed and generally safer drivers. Therefore, we encourage you not only to heed all the warning signs on the road, but also for your passengers to talk to us on Twitter or follow us on Facebook,” says le Roux. 

Travellers can call N3TC’s 24-hour N3TC helpline on 0800 63 4357 for regular traffic updates or emergency assistance and tune into N3 Radio for music and great stories, and important information about the N3 Toll Route. Download the N3 Radio app and stay informed while you travel.

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This article was paid for by the N3 Toll Concession.

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