Be Safe – Because encouraging Namibians to be safe is at the heart of what we do
Cars make life more convenient, easier to get from point A to point B. However, there is a responsibility one takes on when they get behind the wheel; to make sure that they, and other road users, get to their destination safely. Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility, and it is important that the necessary precautions are taken to lessen the chance of having an accident.
In Namibia, an increasing trend of road fatalities has been observed. Namibia’s road crash fatalities are among the highest in Africa. In 2021, car crashes claimed the lives of 532 persons - a 14% increase in road deaths compared to 466 in 2020. Statistics collated by the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund of Namibia (MVA) Fund Emergency Call Centre show that as of 30 September 2021, 71% of total crashes occurred in only five regions, Khomas, Otjozondjupa, Oshona, Erongo and Oshikoto and the same regions constituted 68% of injuries and 49% of fatalities, while males made up 99% of overall deceased drivers. More shockingly, 66% of drivers were aged between 25 and 44 years.
The high number of road crashes and their associated consequences have a significant negative impact on the socioeconomic development of all Namibians. These negative consequences include loss of lives, grief and suffering as well as the heavy financial burden on the country’s economy.
In 2021, the MVA recorded 182 severely injured persons, i.e. 35 cases of traumatic brain injury, 46 cases of spinal cord injury, and 101 cases of poly-trauma injury and in the same period, we received 2405 benefit claims, with the injury grant accounting for 74% of claims received, followed by the funeral grant 18%, loss of support 4.6%, loss of income 2.4% and medical reimbursement at 1% and the total of these benefits costs amounted to N$285.4 million.
Form an insurance perspective, in 2021, Santam paid in excess of N$200,000,000 in claims as a result of motor accidents. This amount accounted for over 50% of the total claims paid for that year. One would have expected the claims to be lower during the height of Covid-19 pandemic as people were driving less, however, the average cost of claims increased because the accidents that happened were more severe, and the severity of accidents increased the cost of claims.
Safety on the road
Adopting a safety culture and proactively taking ownership of your safety will go a long way to keeping yourself, your loved ones and other Namibians safer. Below are tips that will get you on your way to becoming safer:
Before your trip:
- Plan your trip in advance. This could help you avoid poor weather conditions, getting stuck in traffic and high accident zones.
- Have your car serviced, as per your car manufacturer’s specifications, by a qualified and reputable mechanic. This could help you avoid getting stuck as a result of a mechanical breakdown, while on your journey. This is where the oil, tyres, headlights, wiper blades, etc. will be checked to make sure that they are all in good condition.
On the road you should:
- Always wear a safety belt and make sure all the passengers in the vehicle do as well.
- Always obey the speed limit and keep a safe following distance.
- Always check your blind spot before changing lanes.
- Stay alert and keep an eye on what is happening around you, especially animals crossing the road and pedestrians.
Things to avoid while driving:
- Do not use your mobile phone while driving. If you are expecting a call while driving, make sure that your phone is connected to your car’s Bluetooth or that you have a hands-free kit. That text, email or social media notification can always wait until you have reached your destination.
- Do not drink and drive. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is one of the leading causes of road accidents.
- Avoid driver fatigue. Driving while tired could lead to loss of concentration and falling asleep behind the wheel. On long trips, schedule breaks every 2 hours to get out of the car, stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
The Santam “Be Safe” campaign
Our promise of insurance good and proper means that, not only do we protect the things Namibians value, but we also encourage Namibians to take the necessary precautions to be safe out there whether on the road, at home, at work, or at their business or farm. It is for this reason that we designed a campaign called “BE SAFE” which will be broadcast on TV, radio and social media. The campaign aims to promote a safety culture and encourage Namibians to proactively take ownership of their safety. Because encouraging Namibians to be safe is at the heart of what we do.