Previously Prime Meridian Direct (PMD) Prime Meridian Direct

A busy highway

Tips for driving during load shedding

Driving during load shedding can be very stressful, especially if you’re already late for work and the traffic keeps piling up. Here are some practical tips to help you navigate the road when load shedding hits and you’re out on the road.

How load shedding affects traffic

Load shedding leaves South Africans in the dark. Not only because the lights are out but because it makes it much more difficult to plan anything. When there’s load shedding, traffic and street lighting are out, which makes visibility and navigation difficult, affecting the flow of traffic and causing more road accidents.

Here are some tips for safe driving during load shedding in South Africa.

1. Slow down and stop at intersections

It’s always a good idea to slow down when there’s load shedding because you can’t simply trust that other drivers will follow the road rules. For example, it’s a law that South Africans should treat a robot like a four-way stop if the traffic lights are not working.

However, all too often, when someone crosses the intersection, they don’t stop. That’s why you should always be extra vigilant when approaching the intersection and try to gauge what other drivers will do, only crossing when the other vehicles have come to a complete stop.

2. Try a different route

Some apps can help you check when the power will be off in certain areas. Use these to see if there might be an alternative route for you to take to avoid areas with lots of traffic and dark streets.

Also, you can use Google Maps to help calculate a better route for yourself. You should also try leaving earlier than usual because it will probably take longer to get to your destination when there’s load shedding.

3. Be alert when driving in the dark

When the lights go out, criminals will try to take advantage. Be extra alert while driving when there’s load shedding, and be on the lookout for hijackers and smash-and-grab criminals.

Always keep a safe following distance to allow for some room to escape if something happens. You should also be careful when stopping at stop streets and keep all your valuables out of sight.

4. Remain calm at all times

Getting worked up and experiencing road rage can only make the situation worse. Stay calm and accept that there’s only so much you can do in the situation. Your safety is always more important than being on time. Instead, switch on the radio to keep you company and take a few deep breaths.

5. Treat other drivers and points people with respect

All the drivers on the road during load shedding are in the same boat, likely also feeling frustrated and running late. The traffic official points people are also just there to help, so pay attention to what they’re signalling, show them respect and follow their instructions.

6. Never tailgate or drive on the yellow line

Tailgating the car in front of you or driving on the yellow line might seem like harmless ways to try and bypass traffic. However, it can have fatal effects. You should never break the law or drive recklessly, and load shedding is not an excuse to do so.

7. Don’t forget about cyclists and pedestrians

It’s even more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians to be out on the road during load shedding. Be careful and avoid driving close to the curb to prevent running anyone over. Even if you’re in a quiet street with no other cars around, double-check your mirrors and drive carefully.

8. Watch out for road hazards like potholes

In the dark, it can be difficult to see road hazards like potholes in the road ahead of you. Drive slowly and keep your eyes fixed on the road.

9. Always switch on your lights

Drive slowly and use your brights if there are no other cars around to help light the way. Even if you’re driving in broad daylight, it’s a good idea to switch on your lights to ensure everyone can see and is aware of you.

10. Don’t take your eyes off the road

Sitting in traffic can be frustrating and make you feel like you’re wasting time. However, never take your eyes off the road to do something else, especially not something on your phone. Instead, switch on the radio or an audiobook to keep you company while your eyes can still be laser-focused on the road ahead.

11. Keep your phone charged

It’s important to keep your phone charged and to have it with you whenever you’re in your car. If anything happens, you must be able to call your insurance or roadside assistance and the relevant rescue services or police. It’s a good idea to keep a spare charging cable or power bank in your car so that you can charge your phone in the car.

12. Have a torch ready

If you’re going to arrive home during load shedding, ensure you have a torch with you that will help light your way safely to your front door. Also, be extra careful to check your surroundings when parking at home and getting out of your car. If you have one, drive into your gate or garage and wait until it closes behind you before you step out of your car.

13. Make sure you have a trusted car insurance provider on your side

Unfortunately, you can be prepared as possible, and an accident will still happen. That’s why it’s so important to have car insurance with a trusted, easy-to-reach, and compassionate provider. 

This also does not mean you have to pay a fortune to have this peace of mind. At Prime South Africa, we’ve designed car insurance packages that can be tailored to suit South Africans’ budgets because we believe every driver deserves car insurance.

Get your car insurance quote in minutes today

Join the Prime Family today, and enjoy knowing that you’re backed by the best, even in the worst times. Fill in this quick form, and we’ll send you a car insurance quote to get you covered in no time.


This article provides general information about potential problems you could experience when driving during load shedding in South Africa. Always follow the South African law and do your best to be prepared for load shedding in your area. 

Buying car insurance should be done with much thought and only from a certified financial services provider. Contact us today if you want to find out more about getting affordable, comprehensive car insurance with fixed premiums* and a reduce-to-zero excess*. *T&Cs apply.

Fill in your details and we'll call you back before you know it!

Type your message here. We look forward to hearing from you.

Full Name(Required)

Fill in your details and we'll get back to you as soon as possible

Thank you!

We’ll be in touch soon!