Driving during power outages and load shedding can be an extreme sport. In addition to traffic and streetlights being out, you may come across emergency vehicles on the road, or have difficulty seeing pedestrians in the dark.
If you’re driving during an outage, or you can’t stay home until power is restored, it’s imperative to adhere to the rules of the road. Arrive Alive comes to the rescue with a set of guidelines to ensure you and other road users’ safety.
Road safety during load shedding
General preparation and planning
Plan the route to take ahead of your trip, and leave a little bit earlier. Traffic lights won’t work during power outages, and as a result, getting stuck in traffic might make you late.
If you aren’t rushed, you are less like to disobey the rules of the road or drive recklessly.
Also, charge your phones when the power is on. That way, if you do get stranded or stuck next to the road, you’ll have the means to call for help. Keep in a spare charging cable in your car.
Ensure your fuel level is at an adequate level ahead of a planned power outage. Not only are petrol stations unable to pump fuel during an outage, but getting stuck next to the road in the dark is not ideal.
Be prepared. Keep a go-bag in the car. I personally refer to it as a Zombie Apocolypse survival kit, but you get the idea. This should include temporary lighting, cash, etc. Having an extra phone (switched off) or battery won’t hurt either.
Remember, if a traffic light is out of order, that intersection or crossing becomes a four-way stop. That means: first to stop, first to go.
If two vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, you must yield the right of way to the car approaching from your right.
If three vehicles arrive at the same time, the car furthest left should continue to yield until both of the other vehicles to the right of them have passed.
Be alert to the sequence of the vehicle from all directions. Be patient, even if it means waiting for three cars from three different directions to pass.
It’s hard for motorists to spot road hazards such as potholes or debris in the dark. The safest way around this is to reduce your speed. If you’re the only motorist on the road, drive with your lights on bright.
The lack of street lights also makes it easier for “smash and grab” criminals to attack. Be attentive to what is happening around you, especially when stopping at an intersection.
Road safety: In conclusion
Arrive Alive has the following words of wisdom to share:
- We are all annoyed with load shedding – but we also have the same objective – to arrive alive at our destinations
- You are not more important than other road users -they might also be under stress with urgent appointments to attend
- Be respectful to traffic officials and pointsmen trying to assist motorists at intersections.
Load shedding is bad enough – Let us not shed our manners as well!