Carelessness and distractions on the road may cause serious harm

N3 Toll Concession (N3TC), the company responsible for the N3 Toll Route between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Cedara in KwaZulu Natal, warns motorists ahead of the upcoming Easter long weekend and subsequent holiday season, to stay alert and focused on the road. Distractions may lead to negligent driving and high risk behavior.

N3TC hopes road users will exercise greater caution in an effort to limit crashes and help bring down the fatality rate on all South African roads.

Recent traffic statistics for the N3 Toll Route showed a decrease in crash statistics when comparing figures from January to March 2014 to the same period in 2013.
• Crashes decreased by 18% from 282 in 2013 to 232 in 2014
• Crashes where injuries were sustained decreased by 22% from 114 in 2013 to 89 in 2014
• Fatal crashes decreased by 26% from 23 in 2013 to 17 on 2014, and the
• Number of fatalities decreased by 7.0% from 29 in 2013 to 27 in 2014
“We welcome this decline and would like to see the trend continuing. Car crashes remain one of the leading causes of accidental death. To ultimately make a difference to these statics every single driver has to take full responsibility for adopting defensive driving techniques, staying alert and in control on the road,” says Con Roux, Commercial Manager of N3TC.

Partnerships to maximise route safety

To ensure the N3 Toll Route is as safe as possible, the members of the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI), provincial traffic authorities along with public and private emergency medical rescue services (EMRS) will be deployed during this peak holiday period. To bolster the efforts of these services and N3TC’s Route Services teams, N3TC has entered into partnerships with IMPERIAL I-Pledge and BMW South Africa.

This year Imperial I-Pledge handed 10 additional patrol and EMS vehicles to N3TC. The vehicle sponsorship – running for the fourth consecutive year and supported by IMPERIAL’s Europcar – will enhance route surveillance, patrol support, emergency response times and post-crash care during the busy holiday period. Two vehicles have been equipped to provide additional medical assistance on the N3 Toll Route. A third vehicle is dedicated to the N3TC Duduza ‘We Care’ Initiative, to assist with post-crash support in the Ladysmith and Van Reenen area.

BMW South Africa has made two additional technical support vehicles available to the N3 Toll Route. These fully equipped vehicles driven by highly trained teams and will be on standby for the duration of the Easter holiday period to provide technical assistance during breakdowns and post-crash emergency support. The BMW technical support teams will be stationed on Van Reenen’s Pass.

Conditions on Van Reenen’s Pass can often be challenging with poor visibility caused by mist, rain, wind and snow. Drivers often do not compensate for the conditions, often driving at high speed, putting themselves and other road users at risk.

The Community Medical Services (CMS) team will once again be ready to provide their professional expertise and route knowledge to help manage emergencies in the Van Reenen and Ladysmith region. This remarkable group of volunteer paramedics, nurses and doctors was founded by Philip Hull and has been monitoring the Van Reenen’s Pass area of the N3 Toll Route for 30 years. The group has extensive experience attending to crash scenes in dangerous conditions. “Knowing that the CMS team is attending to an emergency scene offers us great peace of mind,” says Roux.

“N3TC is privileged to be part of these partnerships, which aligns our goals of providing safety, convenience and mobility to customers, and the opportunity to travel on a world class road.”

Peak periods may lead to unexpected problems

The N3 Toll Route is one of the busiest transport corridors carrying freight between South Africa’s inland provinces and KwaZulu Natal’s port city, Durban. As holidaymakers now also start making their journeys to the numerous holiday destinations in easy reach from the N3 traffic figures are expected to increase sharply. Peak periods place additional demands on all road users, law enforcement and emergency services teams.

Daily traffic more than doubles on peak days. N3TC expects the following peak periods:
• Southbound (towards KwaZulu Natal) – Thursday, 17 April between 12:00 and 20:00
• Southbound (towards KwaZulu Natal) – Friday, 18 April between 07:00 and 12:00
• Northbound (towards Gauteng) – Monday, 21 April between 12:00 and 20:00
• Southbound (towards KwaZulu Natal) – Friday, 25 April between 14:00 and 20:00
• Northbound (towards Gauteng) – Monday, 28 April between 12:00 and 20:00
N3TC appeals to road users to stay calm and patient at peak times. Slow moving traffic and congestion may cause frustration which too often results in aggressive and negligent driving patterns. A particular area of concern is overtaking in Van Reenen’s Pass and N3TC appeals to motorists, particularly returning from their holidays heading north on the N3 Toll Route to plan ahead and share the road responsibly, particularly if travelling in the peak traffic periods.

Top causes of accidents on the N3 Toll Route include vehicles losing control, leaving the road and rolling and head-tail collisions. This is indicative of negligent driving, speeding and high risk behavior. These types of accidents can be avoided by simply being more responsible.

Road works

No major construction or road works are planned for the peak period. “Maintenance and rehabilitation activities are carefully scheduled so as to be suspended prior to peak traffic periods. Every effort is made to ensure free flow traffic along all sections of the route,” explains Roux.

Use of e-Tags

e-Tags are not yet in operation along the N3 Toll Route. The Electronic Toll Collcetion (ETC) system is being tested at toll plazas along the Route and will become available as an additional payment method later this year.

The following payment options are available for Class 1 vehicles:
• Cash
• South African Bank-issued Credit Card (VISA or MASTERCARDS only)
• Garage Cards
No debit cards are accepted.

Plan ahead – N3 Route Help Centre on standby to provide 24/7 traffic alerts

Before leaving home, get the latest road conditions to help you avoid unexpected problems on your planned journey. Contact the 24-hour N3TC Route Control Centre on 0800 63 4357 (0800 N3 HELP) or follow N3TC on Twitter @N3Route.

Should you experience any difficulties, along the N3 Toll Route between Heidelberg and Cedara, help can be accessed by contacting the Route Control Centre. Any of N3TC’s six Route Patrol Teams will be dispatched to assist you. These highly trained teams of emergency specialists are geared to provide help at accidents scenes and vehicle breakdowns. They also provide basic emergency medical care, assist with fire-fighting, removing dangerous objects from the road and regular route patrols to ensure conditions along the N3 remain as safe as possible.