World Cup 2010

AA raises road safety fears for fans in South Africa

11 June 2010

Football fans in South Africa are at greater risk from road deaths than any other hazard, according to the UK Automobile Association. There are almost eight times as many road deaths in South Africa as in the UK.

In 2008 there were 16,113 road deaths in South Africa compared to 2,538 in the UK. Despite recent investment of £310 million in the road system and IRAP (International Road Assessment Programme) road analysis by road safety experts, many roads still only gain a one star rating. The recent tragic deaths of three English school pupils and the great grand daughter of Nelson Mandela highlight some of the problems too.

The AA advises English fans to take great care when driving in the country whether in town or between venues.

Edmund King, AA president, said: "South Africa is a fantastic country with much to see but we would urge football fans to take extra care on the roads either as a driver, passenger or indeed pedestrian. Never be tempted to drink and drive, always wear a seat belt and only hire good quality vehicles.

"Get familiar with the different rules of the road, such as 4 way stops, where the first to arrive at a junction has priority. Much has, and is being done to improve the road network, but still some 16,000 people each year are killed on the roads. Dangers of the road network were raised in a Make Roads Safe conference which I attended in Cape Town with Desmond Tutu last year."

In the UK some have claimed that England flags on vehicles can increase fuel consumption between 3 and 6 miles per gallon or an extra litre of fuel per hour at an average of 70mph.*

King said: "Drivers are entitled to show their support for their team by flying the flag but should ensure that flags are well secured and do not distract or endanger other road users such as horse riders.

"I don't think people need worry too much about poorer fuel consumption as most drivers are likely to be driving less during the World Cup."


*An average car with two flags attached burns an extra litre of fuel per hour at an average of 70mph, said Manchester University's Dr Antonio Filippone.

He also calculated that 500,000 drivers all doing the same will create 2.8m kg of carbon dioxide emissions.

The extra fuel consumption is caused by the flags creating drag.

Dr Filippone, of the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, carried out the research for a paper called "What is the fuel wastage from the flag on your vehicle?".

He said: "The extra drag generated by these flags can reduce a car's fuel economy by up to 3% during a one-hour journey.

"This may not seem significant to the individual, but if half a million cars are flying these flags we could see up to 1.22 million litres of extra fuel burned during the World Cup."

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11 June 2010