Driving during load shedding

Plan and be prepared when driving during load shedding

Reuben Van Niekerk
load shedding
consumer advice
power failure
road safety

South Africa is currently experiencing one of the worst bouts of load shedding, which at times sees areas without electricity for as much as six hours.

Load shedding has a major effect on traffic and traffic flow with traffic lights out of order for long periods of time and streets dark without any streetlights, leading to an increased number of road traffic accidents. It is advisable that motorists plan their routes and drive with extra caution during these periods.

Various apps provide up to date information on the load shedding schedules for various areas. These apps can be helpful in being prepared with the knowledge of how load shedding will affect your commute to and from work. Attempt to avoid areas with outages during your travel or plan your travelling schedule by taking load shedding into account.

If you know you will be encountering load shedding on your route, give yourself extra time to complete the journey. This will alleviate any stress associated with running late for work or your next appointment.

Intersections should be treated as four way stops. This does not always happen making it necessary to double check every path that you are crossing before proceeding. Be aware of when it is your turn to go but avoid sneaking across behind the car in front of you as this delays things for other motorists.

Never drive in the yellow lane when waiting in congestion at a traffic light. Apart from the fact that it is against the law it worsens traffic flow further down the road for other motorists, makes it dangerous to re-enter traffic and will certainly anger fellow motorists.

When driving at night, especially in suburbs where street lights are not working it is important to reduce your speed and be extra alert for pedestrians and cyclists who can become almost invisible in the complete darkness.

In many cases criminals will also target areas affected by load shedding. It is important to be extra vigilant in traffic and when arriving home. Keep all valuables, such as handbags and cell phones out of sight and make sure that it is safe to enter before turning into your driveway. If you feel unsure, rather drive around the block and take a second look.

Be prepared for arriving at your destination. It is very possible that you might arrive home in the dark. Keep a small torch with you, which will make tasks like unlocking your gate, garage, or front door much easier.