Accidental death and road accidents
09 Nov 2023
When you never get where you were going
As many of us are gearing up to go home and away, we need to talk about road safety. We all know that the roads are actually a dangerous place, but we don’t always remember that while we’re walking or driving.
Road accidents kill an average of 12 000 – 14 000 South Africans every year, 43% of whom are actually pedestrians. Many South Africans spend hours on the road each day, getting to or from work or driving as part of their jobs, so it’s no surprise that we have one of the highest road accident rates in the world. But it’s not something to let slide. Especially not at this time of year. As we get ready for the “silly season”, our emergency services know they will be pulling long hours for the next eight weeks.
It is such a dangerous time that we see a huge spike in road deaths between October and January compared to the rest of the year, which looks fairly calm by comparison.
So what can we do about it?
Needless to say, the first thing we can do is try to be as conscious of our surroundings as we possibly can, but what does that actually mean?
Besides keeping your eyes open for oncoming traffic, keep a look out for other pedestrians or obstructions where you are walking or driving. Unfortunately, pedestrians often spend more time on the road than cars do on the pavement, including taxis. When drivers have to make split-second decisions to avoid pedestrians, it can result in collisions with other vehicles in adjacent lanes. These incidents can have ripple effects, impacting traffic across an eight-lane highway.
Ideally, all road users, drivers or pedestrians, need to please stay in their lanes!
It is a very difficult thing to manage in many parts of South Africa, where the pavements have fallen apart, but you must be vigilant. If you are forced to walk in the road, stay as close to the side as you can and return to the pavement as soon as there is one. Do not wander in the middle of the road. You will be an unexpected obstruction and even if you have legal right of way, the human body will come off second best against a ton or more of speeding car.
You have to be watching and listening, all the time, for what is going on around you. If there is a car that is speeding toward you, you can usually hear them before you see them. Walking with headphones in or over your ears, as fun as it may be, interferes with your ability to hear danger and more importantly, figure out which direction it’s coming from. It is best to keep your listening habits attuned to the road when you’re on it.
Sometimes, even that is not enough
Sadly, even if you do all these things, and are extra cautious always, you can still be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are very few of us who don’t know someone who has been in a road accident, and we know how they can turn your world, quite literally, upside down in a few seconds.
There is nothing so jarring as the loss of a loved one, who you spoke to only an hour before they were confirmed dead. Accidental deaths are particularly painful because there is often no one to blame. There is no reason for the earth-shattering loss. And it is so sudden. We never think of that when we hang up the phone or close the door behind us. This may be the last time we see them alive. It makes no sense to our minds when we wished them a good day this morning, and by the evening were having to make funeral arrangements.
The importance of minimising the trauma of loss cannot be overstated
Your family will be in such pain that it is very important that things are organised and that there is as little that can go wrong as possible. At Legal&Tax, we understand how insistent the grief and shock can be which is why we have tailored our funeral plans to make the claims process as painless as possible.
There is no waiting period for Accidental Death.
While we have waiting periods for other causes of death, if you signed up for a funeral plan this morning, your accidental death cover has been active since this morning.
Claims can be paid out in 24 hours
For valid claims where all the correct documentation has been submitted, we will pay out the nominated beneficiary 24 hours from the receipt of that documentation.
Making funeral arrangements requires a lot of time on the phone and we want to help by ensuring that you have the airtime to help make those calls.
Contact us today to find the plan for you.
With Legal&Tax, you’re not alone
Article sourced from Legal & Tax.
- Claiming for road accidents caused by poor road conditions
- What are the consequences of the new Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill 2023?
- (Legal) Rules of the road
- The general principles of the Road Accident Fund