Festive season travelling: 8 busy roads and when to take the trip

Hitting the road this festive season? Then buckle up and get to know the most travelled roads and their busiest times.

South Africa’s roads are often congested during the December holiday season, which each year is marred by a high rate of fatal traffic accidents.

The 2022/2023 festive season (December 1, 2022, to January 11) claimed 234 fewer lives than the previous year – but the Automobile Association believes ongoing interventions are needed, or the ‘country’s abysmal road safety situation will never improve’.

The fact that human error was the main culprit of accidents in the 2022/2023 festive season, causing 87% of fatal crashes, echoes the findings of a study by Compare the Market: South Africa has dangerous drivers.

When planning your trip this year, ensure that your car is rain-ready for safe driving, and carefully plot your route. Before you start planning, it will help to learn more about the national routes and their traffic patterns.

Caxton Local Media spoke to the acting general manager for marketing and communication at the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), Priya Pillay, to find out which roads are likely to be the busiest this festive season.

She says based on last year’s data, these were the most-travelled national routes during the period:

  1. N2 North Coast – Durban to Tongaat
  2. N2 South Coast – Durban to Winkelspruit
  3. N4 East – Pretoria to Mbombela
  4. N1 North – Pretoria to Polokwane
  5. N3 South – Johannesburg to Durban
  6. N1 South – Huguenot Tunnel to Cape Town
  7. N4 West – Pretoria to Brits
  8. N1 South – Johannesburg to Bloemfontein

There’s no reason to believe these routes won’t be heavily populated again, come this festive season.

“During the festive season, traffic volumes are generally higher and, on certain days and times, the demand may exceed available lane capacities and toll plaza system capacity, which can result in travel delays,” she says.

Pillay advises that when calculating travel time (through apps like Waze and Google Maps), these factors should be considered:

  • The importance of regular breaks (about 30 minutes for every 200km or so of travel).
  • Over holidays, congestion levels could be between 10 to 40% higher than normal, depending on the date of travel.
  • Expected weather conditions.

Sanral’s predicted traffic flow times for the upcoming holiday period show that traffic is expected to pick up from December 1. Between then and January 14, peak periods are expected to be between 09:00 and 17:00 on most days.

However, heavy traffic is expected between 12:00 and 20:00 on December 15.

Furthermore, December 22 and January 7 have expected heavy traffic flow between 12:00 and 17:00.

Source: Sanral.

Stay safe

Arrive Alive has a few tips motorists can use to ensure their safety on the road.

  • Ensure you have your driver’s licence with you and plan your trip, with ample resting time.
  • Adhere to the rules of the road and a safe following distance of at least two seconds.
  • Avoid distractions and driving after dark.
  • Do not drink and drive or overload your vehicle.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition and that you are well rested before a long trip.
  • Know your emergency numbers:
Source: Arrive Alive.

Read original story on www.citizen.co.za

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