Stick to the rules even if the roads are quiet, says the AA. Picture: SUPPLIED
Stick to the rules even if the roads are quiet, says the AA. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Automobile Association (AA) says although roads across the country will experience a dramatic decrease in volumes during the 21-day coronavirus lockdown, safe driving is still essential and motorists must still follow the rules.

While the lockdown announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday will see far less traffic, the roads will still be used by people involved in essential services travelling to and from work, and people driving to buy groceries, among others.

With far fewer people on the country’s roads, it will in all likelihood lead to a drop in the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities, but this doesn’t open the door for those still on the roads to behave as they wish, notes the AA.

The association says health services across the country are experiencing huge pressures on their resources. In addition, people with other illnesses and emergencies still need to be cared for and assisted.

“Road users who add to this pressure by not obeying the rules, and who through negligent actions cause crashes which require medical intervention, are adding to this pressure and are, quite frankly, selfish, irresponsible, and a danger to others. It is the responsibility of every person who is on the roads — motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians — to behave in such a way that their journeys are completed without incident,” says the AA.

In addition, the AA says people who are still on the roads need to assess each driving situation as there are people who are abusing the current crisis to drive recklessly.

“An increase in average speeds, specifically on highways, has been noticeable. Always be vigilant, put your cellphone away, and remain focused on the road ahead. Now is not the time to take any chances — even though the roads may appear clear. Now, more than ever, it is the responsibility of those who are still driving to ensure their own, and other road users’ safety,” urges the AA.

The AA also says motorists should practice good hygiene in their cars, on motorbikes and bicycles by regularly wiping down surfaces that are touched often such as gear levers, steering wheels, handles, handlebars and visors.