Top tips for road warrior safety

While more people are afraid of flying than they are of any form of ground travel, it is automotive accidents that see the most casualties the world over. Henning Snyman, security director, Africa, at International SOS says that the vast majority of trauma evacuations are vehicle-related incidents. “People are afraid of terrorism and the like, but in the case of risks, vehicle accidents are second only to malaria.”

Keeping this in mind, what are the best ways to ensure traveller safety on the road? Snyman mentioned that risks are largely dependent on country, but that there are certain precautions which are logical, and often applicable throughout. “For instance, in South Africa where we have a very high road traffic accident rate, there are times when the risks are higher than others. Peak seasons see greater volumes of road users, and therefore greater risks. We recommend that travellers only drive during day-time hours, and that if it is a lengthy trip, they break it up into multiple legs.”

Shiréne Brennan, manager, global travel safety for FirstRand Group says that whenever there is the option to fly rather than to drive, FirstRand would always encourage the former. “If a traveller needs to drive for timing or availability reasons, then we equip our travellers with an app, and the traveller checks in on the app every hour or so, so that we can keep track of them. If a traveller is flying into another country, then we advise that they be driven by the local office in country or hotel drivers.”

Snyman also noted that driving in Africa should preferably be booked through a reputable company or a secure transfer. “With a secure transfer, the driver is security trained, and there are two layers of communication. The vehicle is tracked, and the travellers estimated time of arrival is communicated with relevant parties.”

Brennan says, “Locally, the Gautrain is a preferred method of transport from OR Tambo, or a secure shuttle service. We also send out regular communications to our travellers on general safety, such as wearing seatbelts, driving during the day rather than at night and avoiding peak traffic where possible.”

Presila Morgan, travel buyer for PPC Cement says that its policy is very similar to those mentioned above, but that all employees are covered by a 24-hour call-out assistance. “When our staff travel, we issue alerts via mobile to them in case of riots or other hazards they might encounter on the road.”

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