Heartbreaking headlines and images from car accidents are constantly splashed across our screens and newspapers in South Africa, with some of the worlds most reckless and inconsiderate drivers ruling the roads. In fact, the annual death toll due to road accidents in South Africa is one of the highest in the world and the highest in Africa. There are almost 13 000 road accident related deaths a year in South Africa, with the number seemingly rising year on year. Most of them were entirely preventable.

Here are the top 8 causes of road accidents in South Africa, all which can be avoided.

1. Distractions

How often do you mutter about the person in front of you driving badly only to pass them and see they’re texting? Not focusing on the road and allowing yourself to be distracted by your phone, fiddling with your music system or the kids is the number one cause of car accidents in South Africa.

2. Drunk Driving 

This one should be a no-brainer in this day and age yet drivers continue to get behind the wheel when they’re under the influence. In fact, Arrive Alive has indicated that over 50% of people who die in car accidents have a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. Currently the legal limit is still 0.05% with talks of a zero tolerance policy potentially coming into play in the near future.

3. Reckless Driving

Overtaking on the left-hand side, not checking blind spots, changing lanes late, failing to indicate and failing to stop at a traffic light or stop street all contribute to the high death toll on our roads. Lack of police presence makes drivers in South Africa take chances and think they can get away with reckless driving.

4. Speeding

Speeding increase the chance of a collision substantially and dramatically increases the odds of a fatal accident. In fact, having a collision going over 80 kph increases the chance of dying by 20.

5. J-Walking

While an illegal behaviour, pedestrians continue to j-walk which results in a large number of pedestrian accidents and hit and run accidents.

6. Badly Maintained Roads 

With so much corruption and red tape, getting potholes fixed and following proper road maintenance protocols is much harder to achieve in South Africa. As a result, certain areas have very poorly maintained roads which make driving on them very dangerous.

7. Bad Weather 

Rain seems to make people forget the rules of the road, with a crash on certain roads almost guaranteed on a rainy day. Remember to slow down, keep a large following distance and keep your fog lights in if visibility is poor.

8. Lack of Vehicle Maintenance 

Old vehicles, unroadworthy vehicles and vehicles that are never serviced all pose a risk to other drivers on the road. Faulty breaks, faulty lights and worn out tyres are big contributors to road accidents.