Cartoon girl smiling with open arms

What can you do to stay safe?

Do you know all the South African road signs and rules? Do you know when, where and how they are used? Why is it important to wear protective and reflective gear if you’re a cyclist? And what are some of the positive safety habits that should be enforced while you’re travelling?

These are important questions because, whether you’re in a car or walking next to the road, you will always face hazards. A hazard is any object or situation that could be dangerous to you or others.

Hazards are everywhere! They’re at intersections and bends in the road and pedestrian crossings. The movement and position of any other road user could also become hazard. Even a change in the weather could be risky for road users!

You should always:

  • Identify potential hazards that could affect you
  • Predict how the hazard might develop and endanger your safety
  • Think about what action you would take to deal with the hazard
  • Be prepared to act on your decision and reduce the risk that the hazard presents

For example, if you’re playing with a ball, make sure you are as far from the road as possible. If the ball accidently rolls into the road you need to be very careful! Never chase after the ball. First check right, then left, then right again. It’s only when you’re absolutely sure that there are no cars which could present a risk that you are allowed to walk (not run) into the road to retrieve the ball. If you’re unsure whether a situation is safe, always ask a trustworthy adult for help.

Driving

Car with trunck open and the bottom of kids shoes and luggage

Driving somewhere?

Make sure Mom and Dad always have these items in the car:

• Jumper leads
• Multi-tool
• Jack
• Spare tyre
• Tow rope
• Reflective vest
• First-aid kit
• Water
• Reflective triangle
• Fire extinguisher
• Torch
• Multi-purpose lubricant (e.g. Q20)

Public Transport

Public bus with a mixture of young and old people all looking happy

Mind your manners!

Public Transport Tips

  • Offer your seat to senior traveller, pregnant women, or anyone who has difficulty standing. 
  • Never run around on the bus or the train.
  • Always throw your litter in the waste bins provided.
  • Never put your feet up on the seat in front, or beside you.
  • Avoid shouting or talking too loudly.
  • Always wear your headphones if you’re listening to music.
  • Unless it’s a trained guide dog, make sure your pet is kept in a travelling container while you’re using public transport.

Pedestrian Safety

Cartoon traffic lights left one is green right one is red

Green means go! Red means no!

Pedestrian road safety tips 

  • Always walk on the pavement and face oncoming traffic.
  • Obey all road signs and traffic lights.
  • Use a pedestrian crossing if possible.
  • Try to wear high visibility, reflective clothing.
  • Never assume that a motorist can see you or that he is going to stop.
  • Look both ways and make sure both lanes are clear before you cross the road.

Motorcycle Safety

Cartoon head on shot of a motorcycle

Just got your motorcycle licence?

Always stay vigilant and keep these tips in mind when you’re on the road.

  • Always wear a helmet that complies with DOT  or ECE standards.
  • Slowly and steadily apply both brakes simultaneously when you need to slow down.
  • Keep an eye on the speed limit and adjust your speed accordingly
  • Take time to become familiar with the limits of your motorcycle. Never exceed them!
  • Keep a safe distance between yourself and other road users.
  • Use your indicators to signal your intentions to other road users.
  • Always use your headlights, wear bright, reflective clothing and avoid driving in motorists’ blind spots

Long trips

Looking down a long dirt road surrounded in green countryside

Tips for long trips

If your driving long distances, remind your parents to:

  • Stop and rest every 2 hours.
  • Avoid driving at night.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Keep an eye out for potholes on the backroads.
  • Keep a good, up-to-date map in the car.
  • Keep and eye on the fuel gauge.
  • Take turns in driving.

Cyclists

Side view of cartoon bicycle

Bicycle Inspection Checklist

  • Is your seat parallel to the ground and adjusted to your body?
  • Are your handlebars tightly adjusted to your body and the stem firmly down in the fork?
  • Are you hand grips cemented on tightly and in good condition?
  • Is your horn or bell in a functional condition?
  • Are your headlights visible for 150 metres?
  • Are your bearings and spindle well-lubricated?
  • Are your coaster brakes well-oiled and in good condition?
  • Are the link in your drive chain clean and well-lubricated?
  • Are your tyres properly inflated?
  • Do you have a rear reflector and is it in good repair?

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Outreach

The South African Constitution states that “every child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child”.