When buying a car people imagine how much better their lives will be because of the comfort and safety that owning a vehicle provides, as opposed to, for instance, using public transportation. However, after a while, some complications related to this practice may appear, no matter whether you own a new or a used car. Being the owner of a vehicle comes with many responsibilities, most of which are purely the driver’s to take. We could mention, for instance, tasks like acquiring a comprehensive and adequate insurance coverage that satisfies the owner’s needs, or purchasing fuel, or being in charge of car maintenance, among others.
Nonetheless, these factors which drivers are able to control are not the only ones to refer to. When being in the street, individuals also have to pay attention to other factors that affect their safety: we can mention the way in which other people drive, which may be reckless, and even the conditions of the roads, which for sure was an unthinkable concern when purchasing the vehicle. In South Africa, the claims over broken tires because of insufficient road maintenance have increased as high as 47% these last months.
In the country, there are many reasons for an accident to happen which would lead to an insurance claim. Among these causes, there could be mentioned some such as the presence of unsafe vehicles, alcohol abuse on the part of the drivers, or speeding. As a matter of fact, the infrastructure of roads would be the last drivers would think of. However, in South Africa road planning and development have been fragmented and segregated for decades and this is a traffic hazard. Added to inadequate street lighting and the absence of pedestrian pathways, road conditions are deficient. Many drivers have an insurance policy that allows them to sort out these types of problems in a very short time and not worry too much about it. However, how fast drivers are able to solve the issue is not the point, but we have to ask why this is so frequently a cause of claims. What is more, a puncture can be just that, and the driver may stop the car and wait for help, or it may lead to a worse situation, like bad wheel balancing, or even one which could cost someone’s life.
These problems are costing insurance companies and car owners large amounts of money because of situations which could have been avoided. The great number of claims are growing and they are of concern as was stated by the South African Road Federation (SARF). So far, there are many actions individuals can take to avoid damaging their cars because of the lack of road maintenance, although it should not be their responsibility to have to think about that. All the same, it is the government’s responsibility to maintain South African roads in safe conditions for citizens to commute, and tackle the problem so there are fewer car accidents that could have been prevented by taking action.