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Common road hazards in South Africa

It’s road trip season, so you’ll soon be heading out to different parts of our beautiful country for holiday adventures and family gatherings. But preparing for the drive is as important as packing your favourite “padkos”. So, to help you navigate the roads safely, we’ve compiled a list of common road hazards to be aware of.

Familiarise yourself with these potential challenges before setting off on your December break.

Most common road hazards on South African roads

South Africa has varying landscapes, and with this comes unique road hazards. Along with the beautiful scenery you’ll experience along the way, there are some potential obstacles to be aware of.

Staying alert and ready to navigate these potential dangers is essential for a safe and smooth journey.

1. Potholes

Potholes are common hazards on South African roads. Hitting a pothole on the road can cause a tyre blowout, which can be dangerous and make you lose control of the car, especially at high speeds. Keep your eyes peeled and avoid driving over potholes whenever possible to prevent potential damage to your tyres.

In the unfortunate event of pothole damage, check if your car insurance offers rim damage, providing financial relief and ensuring your journey continues smoothly.

At Prime, we do offer this as a potential add-on and will then cover the replacement or repair of your tyres and rims if damaged as a result of road hazards.

2. Debris

Debris, like branches or rubble, threatens your vehicle and safety on the road. Keep a watchful eye on the road ahead, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times, and, if possible, safely change lanes or slow down to avoid debris in your path.

3. Adverse weather conditions

South Africa’s weather can be unpredictable. Wet roads, fog, and hail can create challenging driving conditions you might not be used to.

Drive cautiously, maintain a safe following distance, and be aware of potential blind spots caused by adverse weather. And remember to bring your sunglasses along for the blinding glare from the afternoon sun that could cause problems.

Prime’s Comprehensive Cover includes cover for hail-related damages, providing peace of mind during your travels. Check your policy before hitting the road to ensure you know what you’re covered for.

4. Animals crossing

Stay alert of animals, especially in rural areas. Cattle crossing the road can be unexpected and hazardous.

Always slow down when approaching areas where animals are likely to be present and be prepared to stop on the side of the road if possible.

5. Pedestrians and cyclists

Respect pedestrians and cyclists sharing the road by maintaining a safe distance when passing.

Always be aware of your surroundings to ensure the safety of vulnerable road users by sharing the road well and driving responsibly. Remember, it’s not always easy to spot cyclists or pedestrians, especially not when they’re in your blind spots.

6. Road works

Road works and construction zones require extra caution. So, stick to the speed limits, follow traffic signs, and carefully watch road workers.

Slow down and navigate construction areas with care to ensure the safety of yourself and those working on the road.

7. Vehicle breakdowns

Vehicle breakdowns can happen unexpectedly. Therefore, you should keep a safe following distance from the car in front of you so you can react should they stop suddenly.

Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained before your journey, and be prepared with roadside assistance and emergency contacts. Knowing how to handle a breakdown safely is crucial for a stress-free road trip.

Did you know Prime offers 24-hour roadside assistance and towing services to Comprehensive plans or as an added benefit to Customised and Third-Party PLUS plans? Contact Prime if you’re not sure about what you’re covered for.

8. Slow-moving vehicles and dangerous driving

Any encounter with slow-moving vehicles, such as tractors, construction vehicles, buses or taxis, can be challenging and frustrating. So, exercise patience, maintain a safe following distance, and plan your overtaking manoeuvres carefully to avoid accidents.

Remember, you can’t predict other drivers’ actions, so think twice before moving around them.

9. Heavy traffic

Even while on holiday, heavy traffic is a reality, especially during peak travel times. Stay patient, plan your journey to avoid rush hours if possible, and remain focused to prevent accidents in congested conditions.

It’s not business as usual, so switch on your favourite tunes and sing along as you move slowly towards your destination.

10. Faulty traffic lights or load shedding

Be cautious when approaching traffic lights, especially when driving during load shedding, and treat non-functional traffic lights as four-way stops and proceed cautiously.

This is even more important while on holiday, as you’re driving on unfamiliar roads, which could lead to accidents, so keep your eyes peeled and stay attentive.

Don’t go uncovered

Before setting out on your road trip, get all your car insurance needs met because accidents still happen no matter how well you prepare and how carefully you drive. Unfortunately, there will always be things out of your control.

Don’t let your holiday be spoilt. Instead, get cover from Prime. Apply online by quickly filling out this form to find the best insurance option to suit your needs. Being backed by a reliable car insurance company will give you peace of mind so you can enjoy your family adventure.


This article provides general information about road safety and navigating common driving and road hazards on South African roads. Always follow the South African law and rules of the road to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of your fellow commuters.

Remember to always buy car insurance with much thought and only through a certified financial services provider.

Reach out to us today to learn more about getting affordable, comprehensive car insurance with fixed premiums* and a reduce-to-zero excess*. *T&Cs apply.

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