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Common Causes of Road Accidents

Tips - 15 July 2019

Have you noticed how many billboards lining South Africa’s roads promote cellphones, alcohol, and a life lived in the fast lane?

Vic Rich, Senior Advanced Instructor at Adrenalin Specialised Driving explains how these factors are responsible for the majority of deaths of young South African drivers. He mentions the common causes and advises young people how to drive safely to prevent injury or loss of life.

Cell Phones

Though few drivers admit to using their cellphone while driving when claiming from their insurers or reporting accidents to police, cellphone usage on the road is probably the biggest killer world-wide. Read more on cellphone usage and how such driving habits can cause serious accidents.


High performance cars are a status object but with high performance comes high speed, and young drivers must remind themselves that speed kills.

Today’s fast-paced life causes us to rush. Planning your journey will alleviate the need to rush thus lessening the need to speed. Set your GPS safely before setting off and try to keep your car topped up with enough fuel so that there are no last-minute rushes to the petrol station.

The graph below from the Department of Transport shows that the most common offence is related to speed, by far.
Reported Driving Offences


Many young drivers end up in accidents through fatigue. This is caused by stress and exhaustion and occurs most frequently after work or to and from exams.  If you’ve been studying through the night and are driving to write your exams, take a rest if possible, or breathe deeply, turn on the radio and concentrate on driving safely to the exam.  Ask someone else to drive you to your examination centre if you feel too anxious to do so yourself or call for an Uber.  Richard Grubb, RGA Insurance Brokers adds: “Young people may find an Uber ride expensive, however, it is money well spent if it saves lives.”

And, should your exam results provide you with good reason to celebrate, its fine to party all night, but not fine to drink and then drive home drunk.  The hours between 2am and 4am see a significant number of deaths in young people.
Accidents caused by vehicle related factors
Top of the list of accidents caused by vehicle-related failure are tyres bursting prior to a crash, faulty brakes, vehicle not being roadworthy and tyre failure due to the separation of thread from a wheel. Most accidents of this nature are preventable.

Read more: Mechanical Failures that Cause Road Accidents

Adds Ary Coetzee, Technical and Product Specialist, Bridgestone: “Some tyre related accidents are associated with road usage, such as motorists driving over objects, which causes a sudden loss of tyre pressure.  However, the majority of tyre related accidents can be prevented by inspecting them to ensure they have legal tread levels and no damage.  Maintain your tyres by going to a petrol station bi-weekly or monthly and having them pumped up to optimal levels.”

Read more: Guide to Tyre Safety

Extra Precautions

While the causes and tips mentioned above are common, to be extra safe we can take further precautions:

Keep Others Informed

Although you may be striving for independence, let your parents or another trusted adult know where you are going and when you will return home.  With today’s technology, including various cellphone apps, there is no excuse not to let others know your whereabouts.  This way they will know how to help you if something goes wrong.

Driver Training

Many driving schools teach young people how to pass a test but not necessarily how to drive a vehicle efficiently. Thus many young drivers develop bad driving habits before they get their licences. This has resulted in numerous injuries and fatalities as youngsters only truly face the harsh realities of South Africa’s busy roads on receiving their driver’s licence. 

Invest in yourself and book a course at an advanced driving school, especially with an advanced driving programme designed for young people.  By learning to drive correctly, you could spare your life and the lives of fellow drivers.

Read: Driving Tips from Phillip Kekana

Think carefully about the influences in your life which most shape your thinking.  Are these the media, family members, your peers or even your lecturers and teachers? Do they provide you with the appropriate road safety advice? Your life is precious, so decide how to keep yourself safe on South Africa’s challenging roads.

As a young driver, at Supa Quick your safety is our concern. Stop in at a Supa Quick fitment centre for a free vehicle safety check and keep driving accident-free.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. The views expressed here are not that of Supa Quick. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on this site is at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the content on this site.

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