N3 Toll Concession (N3TC), the company managing the N3 Toll Route between Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal and Heidelberg in Gauteng, is geared to welcome all travellers back to the Route now that the country has moved to Level 2 of the COVID-19 lockdown, and domestic interprovincial leisure travel is once again allowed in South Africa.
The N3 Toll Route provides a key transport link to the many tourism destinations and establishments of the N3 Gateway region, from Gauteng to the grasslands of Mpumalanga, the eastern and southern parts of the Free State, the many uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountain resorts, as well as the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, the port of Durban and coastal towns along the balmy Indian ocean.
However, as you are planning your ‘great escape’ and looking forward to enjoying the warm hospitality of our region, please keep in mind that travel increases the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19. Therefore, it is essential that every precaution is taken to keep you, your family and others as safe as possible, to minimise exposure, and to combat another virus spike.
The following travel precautions are advised:
Don’t travel when you’re sick
Do not travel if you, or any of your travel companions, are feeling unwell, present with flu-like symptoms, or have been in direct contact with someone who has confirmed Covid-19. In this instance, it is essential rather to postpone your travel plans.
Research your destination
- Before you travel, review the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic at your destination/s, possible risks of exposure as well as specific travel requirements at your destination.
- Also, carefully consider your and your loved ones’ health status and underlying medical conditions which may increase your or their vulnerability to the virus.
Take steps to protect yourself and others
- Always wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered. Wearing a mask is your first line of defence. Also remember to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with other people by staying at least 2 metres apart; and stay well clear of anyone who is sick. Any place where people congregate is a potential risk area for the spread of the virus. It is advisable to limit time spent at enclosed public spaces.
- Limit the number of passengers in a vehicle and keep a window/windows slightly open to allow clean, fresh airflow through your vehicle.
- Wash and sanitize your hands regularly, and especially after each and every interaction with service providers along the Route, whether at toll gates (Tags offer a contactless payment method), service stations, restaurants, shops, etc.
- Be vigilant not to touch public surfaces, and to immediately clean your hands if you have done so.
- Keep snacks and water from home in your vehicle.
- Pack a basic first aid kit, with your essential medicines; and keep hand sanitizers, your own soap, disinfectant wipes and paper hand towels in your vehicle and carry it with you when you exit your vehicle.
“As important as it is to be careful of contracting or spreading COVID-19, it is also essential to balance these risks with all other road safety precautions. For instance, do not avoid taking regular rest stops (every two hours or 200 kilometres) to limit exposure, but then suffer from driver fatigue and a loss of concentration which can lead to negligence and harmful road crashes,” warns Con Roux, commercial manager of N3 Toll Concession.
Plan your trip
“Now, under these extraordinary conditions, it is even more important to carefully plan your road trip, and to be in control of your safety as much as possible. Do not let your guard down because you have more freedom,” continues Roux.
Forewarned is forearmed
- Familiarise yourself with your route, and get a sense of the places you will be stopping or staying at, and where to find safe rest stops, fuel stations, and health care facilities.
- Excellent tourist information is available online at the N3 Gateway Tourism Association’s website n3gateway.com, or on Facebook or Instagram.
- Obtain information of road, traffic and weather conditions, and delay your departure if prevailing conditions may cause delays and/or traffic congestion. A national road, like the N3 Toll Route linking Gauteng to the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, can at times become heavily congested, especially when delays are caused by poor weather or unforeseen emergencies.
- Weather conditions can change rapidly along the N3 Toll Route. At this time of year, high winds and sudden gusts, mist and rain, and even sleet or snow storms are not uncommon. And, towards the end of the winter season, the rural landscapes through which the Route traverses, are very dry and can easily be set alight, causing runaway veld fires, thick smoke and dangerous travel conditions.
N3TC goes the extra mile to help ensure your safety
Along the N3 Toll Route, N3TC operates a Route Control Centre (RCC) where all information regarding road conditions, incidents along the route, weather and traffic updates as well as any other travel alerts are received. Vital information and early warnings are disseminated to travellers from this central communication centre via 24-hour helpline and a variety of other communication platforms.
The two most important avenues to obtain essential information or to report problems on the N3 Toll Route are by contacting the 24-hour N3TC helpline on 0800 63 4357 or by following N3TC on Twitter: @N3Route.
“All road users are strongly encouraged to obtain the latest road and traffic information, and report problems or emergencies directly to the RCC,” advises Roux.
Linked to the Route Control Centre, is the Road Incident Management System (RIMS), with its highly trained teams of professional emergency – and traffic management specialists. They monitor the Route through regular patrols, are able to respond to emergencies, and help to ensure that travel conditions along the N3 Toll Route remain as safe as possible.
“Always err on the side of caution. A good trip only ends when you have returned safely home. We, at N3TC wish you good health and safe travels,” ends Roux.