South Africa has one of the highest road death rates of any country in the world and the bulk of these deaths occur during the festive season. FAW Trucks believe that a little bit of prior planning and patience towards other road users can go along way in making our roads safer.
FAW Trucks take road safety very seriously and do their utmost to offer vehicles that are safe as well as a variety of initiatives to ensure that they remain safe and to promote road safety
For example, safety is inherent to the design of every FAW Truck in their extensive model range. Visibility is key to safe driving and FAW has gone to great lengths to optimise visibility for drivers, this includes A-pillars that are as narrow as possible as well as large windows and windscreens. Rear view mirrors incorporate multi angle, multi mirrors, allowing drivers to also see what is alongside them at road surface level. Large sun visors provide relief when driving at dawn or dusk. Exterior touches include large powerful headlights as well as cab top daytime running lights which all contribute to seeing and being seen in low light conditions.
FAW Trucks believe that one of the first steps towards road safety is using the right vehicle for the job and their wide range of vehicles allows users to tick this box easily. The FAW Trucks model range includes turn key solutions for a number of industries with models in a variety of configurations that cater for the freight carrying, truck tractors as well as a range of tippers an mixers that are ready to work. Fit for purpose models make it easy to comply with loading needs and regulations, road conditions and different usage requirements.
“FAW Trucks are designed with safety in mind however the increased traffic loads on major routes mean that it is imperative that both heavy-duty vehicle operators and regular motorists drive with extra caution during this period to avoid unnecessary accidents and fatalities,” says Yongjun Li, CEO of FAW Trucks South Africa.
Don’t drink and drive
Many South Africans like to unwind over the festive season by indulging in alcoholic beverages and this is a big contributor to fatalities on our roads. The bottom line is that drinking and driving do not mix, especially when you operating a heavy commercial vehicle. Fleet managers should do their utmost to prevent this and take swift action against any offenders.
Many drunken pedestrians also contribute to this statistic and commercial vehicle operators need to be aware of pedestrians who might be under the influence especially when travelling at night in close proximity to towns and cities.
Overloading is another big contributing factor to the festive season death toll. Overloading, especially of trailers can lead to axle or tyre failure with catastrophic effects for the tow vehicle and other road users and needs to be avoided at all costs. Operators need to make sure that they adhere to the total permissible weights as well as axle weights. Overloading is not only dangerous but operators could face hefty fines, increased maintenance costs and can shorten the lifespan of their equipment considerably.
Avoid peak times
It is a given that the major highways and byways leading to holiday destinations are going to be busier, so factor that in to the travel time of any trips that you will be doing. If at all possible, try and avoid peak days and times. These include the 16th and 24th of December as well as the 2nd of January and the weekend before school’s resume.
Ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy
While not limited to the festive season, it is essential to ensure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before hitting the road, this will ensure that you reach your destination without any hiccups, will prevent any unroadworthy components from causing an accident and will make legislated roadworthy tests a breeze. The FAW Trucks dealer network will carry out these safety checks at no charge, assisting owners in ensuring that their vehicles are well maintained, in a good condition and safe to operate. These safety checks include the inspection of safety critical components such as tyres, brakes, shocks and windscreens. These components on trailers are just as critical to the overall safety of vehicles and loads. FAW Trucks have a well stocked Parts Distribution Centre of genuine replacement parts, should anything need replacing and will continue to deliver to their dealer network on a daily basis throughout the festive season in an effort to minimise any potential downtime.
Motorists need to be patient
FAW Trucks appeals to motorists to be patient and treat heavy commercial vehicles with respect when on their holiday journey to ensure that everyone arrives safely where they need to be.
Motorists need to keep in mind that they are sharing the road with vehicles that outclass them in weight by thousands of kilograms. Heavy vehicles need a much longer distance to come to a stop and will very often leave adequate room between themselves and the vehicle in front of them in order to come to a stop safely. Motorists need to avoid seeing that as a gap that they can fill with their car.
The blind spot behind a truck is also significant and the general rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the side mirrors of the truck, the truck driver can’t see you.
Motorists should remember that commercial vehicles have different speed limits according to their weight, which can be 100km/h or 80km/h, so while it might seem like they are driving slowly, they are simply adhering to the law.
“Motorists need to realise that they are going on holiday on the roads that heavy duty operators rely on to earn their salary, a little bit of patience and respect will ensure that everyone gets to their destination safely,” concludes Li.