Lewis Caroll said: “If you don't know where
you are going, any road will get you there.” Unfortunately, Mr Caroll lived
during the 19th Century and he most certainly did not live in South
According to the ¹South African National
Roads Agency (SANRAL), South Africa has an estimated
roads network of some 750,000 kilometres, of which only 158,124 kilometres were
tarred as at 19 August 2014. Some of these tar roads are in a fair to good
condition and, in a few cases, excellent condition and some may as well not be tarred
since they are so pitted with potholes that they can hardly be defined as safe
roads upon which to drive. Gravel roads bring with them their own set of
problems, not least of which is that most city cars (and drivers) are simply
not fit to drive on them.
In addition to this, a few of South
Africa’s roads lead through some of the most treacherous and notorious,
crime-ridden areas in the country where it is simply not safe to drive—no
matter what time of the day or night you intend doing so.
It therefore makes enormous sense to ensure
that you plan your journey meticulously ahead of time and, if possible, invest
in a GPS navigation device to help you reach your destination safely and
without the need to stop to consult a map book, or risk getting stuck in a
remote or dangerous location.
But it is also important to bear in mind
that the shortest route to a destination may not necessarily be the safest or
quickest one, so you need to be careful when planning your journey and, for
that matter, when choosing and setting up a GPS navigation device. Some of the
higher end GPS navigation devices also include live traffic facilities to help
you avoid congested routes, crashes and the like, and also incorporate warnings
on high-crime zones which they actively avoid taking you through, as well as
warnings for “high crash zones” so you can be extra vigilant.
Unfortunately there’s always the risk that
the route that you plot may include roads in less than good condition, and
hitting a pothole can be costly as well as being an inconvenient and
potentially dangerous experience.
Although you can claim the damages caused
to your vehicle by bad roads from the roads authority responsible for that
road, this is almost always a tedious and time-consuming exercise which may or
may not yield results; it therefore makes sense to be insured against the
damages your vehicle can sustain when driving on a less than perfect road.
Determining which roads authority is responsible for a particular road can also
prove to be a challenging exercise, given the fact that there are literally
hundreds of them in South Africa.
Comprehensive car insurance policies cover damages caused to
your vehicle should you be unfortunate enough to have your vehicle damaged by
everyday road hazards like potholes, and also include 24/7/365 roadside
assistance so you don’t even need to get your hands dirty or get out of your
vehicle should you be unfortunate enough to hit a pothole or break down. Why it is that,
according to the ²AA less than 35% of all motor vehicles in South Africa are
quite simply, mind boggling.
¹Source: SARF/IRF 2014
²Source 65% of
SA cars NOT insured
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