Pedestrian Safety in South Africa

According to Arrive Alive despite the efforts of numerous Government agencies and road safety initiatives, 35-40% of South African road deaths are those of pedestrians.

Why are pedestrian road deaths so high in South Africa? Several contributing factors can be identified, not least of which is a lack of education.

Other contributing factors include:

  • Intoxication
    • Pedestrian intoxication
    • Driver intoxication
  • Recklessness
    • Implementation of road rules has become lax, pedestrians do not obey road signs, jay-walking is common and children are left unattended on the road sides.
  • Distractions
    • In the age of overwhelming technology, both drivers and pedestrians are easily distracted, ensconced in their mobile devices.
  • Visibility
    • Many pedestrians wearing dark clothing in dimly lit and rural roads are involved in road accidents.
  • Lack of infrastructure
    • Lack of safe pedestrian walk ways, signs and street lights increases the chances of pedestrians being involved in road accidents.

So how can we decrease pedestrian road deaths in South Africa?

The education of pedestrians should begin at a young age. Drilling its importance into the malleable minds of children is the best way to instill this knowledge within our callous society.

Arrive Alive have produced a pedestrian safety manual of the Dos and Don’ts of road safety. Read it HERE.

We have summarized some pedestrian safety tips for staying safe on the road.

  1. Use designated pedestrian areas – Stick to pavements and walkways whenever possible.
  2. Be VISIBLE! – wear light colours and reflective clothing, especially at night.
  3. Be VIGILENT! – Do not allow yourself to become distracted. Not only will this help to protect you from road accidents, but also from opportunistic criminals.
  4. Look, Listen and Look again - It was drummed into many of us as kids, “look right, look left, look right again.” – Do not cross the road unless it is safe to do so.
  5. Keep an eye on the kids – kids have tendency to wonder off, chase a cat or get distracted by a rolling ball, be sure to hold you children’s’ hands when walking across or near to the road. Educate your kids on the dangers of the road.

Safe Steps have created a video series on road safety. Their pedestrian safety tips video visually sums up our top tips above.