The number of crashes on the N3 route between Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal increased from 888 in 2017 to 999 in 2018, the N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) revealed on Tuesday, ahead of the festive season.
"By this time tomorrow morning, we would have two truck crashes," transportation manager Miles le Roux told the media during a presentation at the N3TC's offices in Harrismith.
This was revealed during an N3 media tour to highlight the challenges faced on the route ahead of the busy festive period that is expected.
Up to 15 000 vehicles are expected to use the route on December 15, 2018, while close to 30 000 vehicles are expected on December 24, 2018.
"The likelihood of accidents during this period is less as there is more congestion and we have more authorities visible on the route," Le Roux explained.
While most light vehicle-related crashes are said to be caused by pedestrians, drivers have been found to be the main contributing factor in accidents involving heavy-duty vehicles.
"We try to make the route as safe as possible, but we are dependent on the road user," he added.
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Statistics also show that the number of fatalities on the N3 decreased by 34.3%, with 46 fewer deaths recorded in 2018.
Despite the 88 deaths recorded in 2018, the N3 remains the safest route in the country.
"I would say that without doubt the N3 is the safest route in the country, we are way below the stats with reference to crashes, etc," route maintenance manager Anesh Madenlal said.
The N3TC wants to urge commuters planning to make use of the "world-class route" to travel during the day instead of at night.
"Don't drive at 02:00 for example, traffic is less at night and thus the likelihood of an accident occurring is heightened," N3TC commercial manager Con Roux further explained.
N3TC route safety tips for commuters:
1. Obey the rules of the road and have your driver's licence with you.
2. Plan the route to your holiday destination and allow yourself enough time to reach the destination.
3. Make sure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before departure. All lights and indicators, windscreens, windscreen wipers, brakes, steering, shock absorbers, exhaust system and tyres should be carefully examined for faults.
4. Do not overload your vehicle.
5. Try to avoid driving after dark if possible.
6. Have a good rest before you embark on your journey.
7. Take safety breaks every two hours or 200km. Rest, have an energy drink and continue once well rested.
8. Do not drink and drive.
9. Try to recognise potentially dangerous drivers and pedestrians and keep well clear of them.
10. Be visible - drive with your lights on.
11. Headlights should be dipped well before an approaching vehicle is within the range of the main beam.
12. Always wear your seat belt and see that everyone in the car is wearing theirs.
13. Drive defensively.
14. Stay within the speed limit at all times.
15. Only overtake when it is absolutely safe to do so.
16. Maintain at least a two-second following distance - this distance should be increased at night, in foggy or rainy conditions and when the road is wet.
17. Expect others to not be as obedient to the law as yourself.
18. Avoid distractions on the road such as texting and conversations on cellular phones.
19. Be courteous toward fellow road users - keep your temper and resist the temptation to retaliate.
20. Know emergency numbers.