By Laura Lopez Gonzalez
Traffic is expected to increase over the next couple of days as holidaymakers head back to the Highveld.
But already the return journey has claimed fatalities.
On Thursday, a station wagon carrying a family of eight en route from Durban to Johannesburg collided head-on with a car on the N3 near Van Reenen's Pass.
Witnesses reported that a car was attempting to overtake when it ran head-on into the station wagon, said Netcare 911 spokesperson Nick Dollman.
"The woman may have died on impact, shortly before her car bust into flames," he said.
Meanwhile, nearly half the family in the station wagon sustain critical injuries - including a seven-year-old girl who suffered burns.
"The paramedics couldn't for the life of them figure out how the little girl was burnt," Dollman said.
"No one sitting next to her received burns."
Three other family members sustained serious injuries such as broken arms and legs, but one person managed to escape with only minor cuts and bruises.
The entire family were transported to the Laverna Clinic in nearby Ladysmith, he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Transport has said that up to December 31, the festive season death toll on the country's roads was 1 142.
ER24 Emergency Services reported that it had attended to more than 700 accidents.
Road accident fatalities showed a slight decline over last year's figures, in keeping with the trend in recent years.
In an effort to curb accidents, both Joburg and Ekurhuleni metro police have had an increased presence on the roads this season, and plan to release figures on arrests within the coming days.
This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on January 04, 2008