The Best and Worst Times to Drive in December

The festive season is almost upon us with South Africa’s roads set to become even busier and more congested. Ongoing research regarding travel and December road trends shows which are the best and worst days and times to travel as well as the most dangerous roads during this busy time. 

Which Are The Worst Dates To Drive?

As you make your travel plans, try to avoid the roads on the following dates or make a mental note to drive even more carefully should you need to travel on them:

  • 13 December – Many people will try to make their festive season getaway ahead of the long weekend, setting off on their travels on the Friday to give themselves an extra day’s holiday. 

  • 20 to 24 December - A busy drive time period beginning on the Friday afternoon, extending over the weekend and into Christmas Eve as motorists take to the road for the festive season holidays. 

  • 28 to 31 December – A frustrating time for road users as fellow South Africans leave their holiday destinations, or head out to celebrate the New Year.

  • 10 to 12 January – This is the last weekend peak-travel period when holiday-makers make their way home.

Which Are The Best Dates To Drive?

Both of these days provide light, congestion-free travelling when many businesses are closed and people spend time at home with family and friends.

  • 25 December – Christmas Day 

  • 26 December – Boxing Day

Which Are The Most Dangerous Times To Drive?

Over December, most crashes occur between the following two time slots:

  • 19:00 and 20:00

  • 22:00 and 23:00

Throughout December, the majority of crashes occur on a Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Which Will Be The Busiest Roads In South Africa?

Here are the busiest roads in South Africa and its borders during the festive season, which present some of the worst road conditions.

  • N1 to Beit Bridge – Those crossing the Limpopo River and travelling to Beit Bridge, in the south of Zimbabwe should factor in extra times for delays. It is the busiest border post in the region and has become an accident zone with over 500 trucks crossing daily through the year and even more vehicles over the festive season. The inspection of passports and travel documents add to delays.  

  • N3 to Durban – The N3 begins in Durban’s Central Business District at Pine Street and Commercial Road as a dual-carriageway freeway and heads west, passing through Berea and Mayville before intersecting with the N2 at the EB Cloete Interchange. Then it heads through Westville before bypassing the south of Pinetown.  It is an important route for those travelling between Durban to Johannesburg making it one of South Africa’s busiest highways throughout the year and particularly over December when accidents occur all too often. 

  • N4 to Maputo – The N4 between Pretoria and Maputo can be considered to be the eastern part of a much longer east-west corridor which includes the N4 west of Pretoria (Magalies toll route) and which continues up to the Lobatse border between South Africa and Botswana (about 330km). It stretches from North West province, through to Gauteng, into Mpumalanga and beyond. This road, connecting South Africa with Mozambique, is a popular one for holidaymakers, but expect delays due to border posts and frequent road works.  

  • N2 to North Coast, KZN – Those who travel this road frequently experience never-ending maintenance, a myriad of toll plazas and may have seen many fatal head-on collisions.


Plan your holiday travels safely and return healthy, refreshed, and ready to take on the challenges 2020 has in store!

 Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information.