South African roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with a road death toll of 22.5 per 100 000 people. The Vitality Open wants to help change that. Here’s how you can get on board – and get rewarded for driving safely.
Every year, the lives of more than 1.25 million people are cut short as a result of road traffic accidents. Road deaths in South Africa have a significant impact on our economy, with an estimated cost of over 3.4% of the GDP. In addition, between 20 and 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a life-changing disability as a result.
The leading cause of road accidents is – quite simply – bad driving. In fact, 80% of car accidents are caused by bad driving. Vitality wants to change that through the Discovery Insure app, which tracks driver performance to help you stay safe on the road.
Now, by joining the Vitality Open, any driver 18 years and up can track their driving and get rewarded for driving well. To achieve your weekly drive goal, you need to complete 100 consecutive kilometres event-free.
What does event-free driving entail? No harsh accelerating, braking or cornering, no speeding and no cellphone use while on the road. Here are reasons why these factors are so critical:
The cornerstones of good driving
- Smooth acceleration: Harsh acceleration wastes fuel and increases your risk of having an accident. If a cellphone slides backwards on the seat when you accelerate, you may be accelerating too harshly.
- Gradual braking: Braking slowly and smoothly instead of harshly allows you more time to react if a vehicle, pedestrian or animal suddenly obstructs your path. Always leave three seconds following distance between you and the car in front of you. To measure your following distance, count the seconds between the car in front of you passing a marker (like a tree or streetlight) and your car passing the same marker.
- Calm cornering: Slow down before you come into a corner. By reducing your turning speed, you increase your reaction time if case of something unexpected around the corner. If you move a lot in your seat when you turn, you’re cornering too harshly.
- Keeping to the speed limit: Speeding is a major predictor of car accidents in South Africa. Never drive faster than the speed limit and match your speed to the road conditions. Always reduce your speed in wet weather to improve your reaction time.
- Not using your cellphone: Cellphone use on the road reduces your reaction time. Drivers who use their cellphones while on the road are eight times more likely to crash than those who don’t, while texting on the road reduces your reaction time by 35%.
- Avoiding night driving: Driving at night increases your risk of an accident by seven times due to reduced visibility, reduced focus and a large number of impaired drivers on the road. To stay safe at night, reduce your speed and increase your following distance.
By consistently following these basic principles of good driving, you’re well on your way to earning gameboard plays and getting rewarded in the Vitality Open. Simply upgrade your Discovery app and buckle your seatbelt to get started!
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