With the festive season fast approaching, many South Africans are planning their holidays, most of which will include road travel.
Whether it be to the mall, airport, friends and family, or to a resort near the seaside, it is important to keep in mind that this time of year is notorious for road accidents so taking extra care is essential.
Greig Hains, managing director at motor financial service provider MotorVaps, notes that motorists should plan for all possibilities from breakdowns, to theft and accidents. He shares his top tips for keeping safe on the roads.
Making sure your vehicle is well maintained and is kept in a roadworthy condition is important all year round, but ahead of a long journey, it is advisable to check everything is working properly, he says.
This includes lights, indicators, brakes, windscreen wipers, wheel alignment, exhaust system and tyres.
Some repairs will be covered under service and maintenance plans, so check what you are entitled to.
Hains suggests motorists have their cars’ roadworthiness tested ahead of a long drive.
“Not only will this reduce the risk of breaking down or causing a road accident, it can save money by identifying mechanical and electrical faults early, before things deteriorate and expensive components such as the clutch or engine are affected.”
Be alert It is crucial motorists are not distracted and that they get into the habit of constantly observing their environment and paying attention to what others are doing around them.
He says: “While the actions of others will never be something motorists can control, being aware – and responding accordingly – can save lives. If motorists notice someone acting suspiciously, they should do their best to avoid them and report their observations to authorities when it is safe to do so.”
South Africa’s high crime rate makes motorists vulnerable. “Criminals don’t seem to take the festive season off, so be alert and keep valuables out of sight,” he adds.
South Africans need to strictly follow a few important guidelines: “It is a massive responsibility you take on when you sit behind that wheel and it’s important not to forget the basics.”
These include not drinking and driving, not driving when you are tired and sticking to the speed limit.
Motorists should also only overtake when it is safe, be alert at all times and avoid distractions, use their lights to be visible to other drivers, ensure headlights are dimmed for oncoming vehicles and maintain a safe following distance.
“The festive season is about spending time with loved ones and creating wonderful memories. The last thing you want is for this to be disrupted by car trouble or a moment of distraction behind the wheel. Be prepared and drive safely this festive season.”