Most South Africans have experienced the inconvenience of power cuts recently caused by Eskom’s load shedding system. However, what many citizens don’t take into account are the security risks this imposes upon motorists and pedestrians. With traffic lights and street lamps out, the risk of lurking criminals is imminent. Here are a few tips to keep you safe when the lights go out.
Safety from Criminal Elements
- Power cuts can leave roads and residential areas in darkness and it is important to be attentive to potential criminals and threats.
- During load shedding it is possible that hijackers and “smash and grab” criminals might see this as an opportunity. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and take security precautions if necessary.
- Always ensure that your cellphone is charged.
- Make sure you have a full tank of fuel, as petrol stations cannot pump fuel during power outages.
- Make sure you have an alternate source of light. E.g. Torch, candles, solar power.
- Try and familiarise yourself with the load shedding schedule so you can make alternative plans.
Load shedding and Road Safety
- It can be frustrating when traffic lights are out at intersections, a good attitude can go a long way.
- Try to plan your route and leave early to avoid heavy traffic hours.
- If you are a motorist try remain patient and calm, avoiding unnecessary risks at intersections.
- Be alert, make sure other vehicles are stationary before crossing a four way stop.
Intersections and Traffic lights
- When traffic lights are out, treat the intersection as a fourway stop.
- This means that if the vehicle in front of you crosses the intersection – you would have to allow the vehicles from other stops to enter the crossing before you can make your move.
- This means that you may have to wait for three other vehicles from 3 different directions to pass.
- Be alert to innocent mistakes – do not become a victim of road rage
- Refrain from rude gestures
Inadequate Road Lighting
- Load shedding can cause streetlights to go out causing risk for both motorists and pedestrians.
- Drive cautiously and make sure to look out for any potholes, debris and pedestrians that may be in the way.
- If there is no oncoming traffic, it is advised to drive with your brights on to illuminate the road surface.
Just remember that load shedding is a frustrating time for everyone. Make an effort to remain patient and calm. Try and assist others where you can but also be cautious and aware of your security. Don’t be left in the dark, be prepared.