How to avoid reckless drivers this festive season

Avoiding reckless drivers and not becoming a reckless driver yourself is a vital strategy in reaching your destination safely this festive season

Reuben Van Niekerk
road safety
safe driving
road trip

Drivers planning long-distance trips to holiday destinations or family over the upcoming festive season may very well encounter other drivers that are reckless or are driving in a manner that puts their own safety as well as the safety of motorists around them at danger. Getting to your destination safely is ultimately your own responsibility and comes down to your own responsible driving as well as how you react to reckless drivers, should you encounter them.


The most important strategy is to put as much distance between yourself and them as possible. While it might be incredibly frustrating to encounter a driver who puts your life at risk, it is best to not let them frustrate you and rather to allow the driver to move around you quickly and with as little risk as possible.


Reckless overtaking

The golden rule is to keep left and pass right. If you are driving slowly keep to the left hand side to allow faster traffic to overtake safely. When travelling on a single lane road and a driver is pressuring you to move over so that they can pass but you can see there is oncoming traffic or you feel uncomfortable, continue driving calmly and maintain your position until you feel it is safe to move over.


Fast and reckless drivers

If a driver is swerving between lanes at a speed, indicate so that the driver is aware of your intentions and safely move out of their way, preferably to the left hand side of the road, so that they can pass without swerving around you or driving up close behind you. On a single carriageway, wait until you see a safe opportunity, indicate, and then move over to let them pass.


Vehicles travelling too close behind you

Don't let this tactic irritate you, rather indicate and move over when it is safe to do so. Furthermore, if you find yourself in such a situation and know that you will be turning off soon, put on your indicator long before you usually would so that the driver knows that you are going to slow down and turn off.


Unroadworthy vehicles

Very often it is easy to spot unroadworthy vehicles, tell tale signs include mismatched bodywork, obvious overloading and lights that are not in a working condition. It is best to stay as far away from these vehicles as possible as there is a good chance that there is even more wrong with the vehicle than meets the eye.


Don’t be a reckless driver

Ensure that your own vehicle is in a roadworthy condition, give yourself enough time to get to your destination so that you don’t need to speed or become impatient, take regular breaks. Avoid pressurising other drivers to do things that they are clearly not comfortable with, such as overtake a truck on a blind rise. Rather pass slower vehicles without requiring any action from them or wait until they are comfortable to let you pass.


Be especially careful in wet weather. Your speed should be based on the conditions and the speed at which the vehicles around you are travelling, rather than the posted speed limit.

Watch how to 'avoid aquaplaning by following these simple steps' here.