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Vehicle Safety This Festive Season

It’s the time of the year where thousands of South Africans are taking to the nation’s roads. So vehicle safety this festive season must be your number one priority. Are you one of them?

If so…

As a South African reading this, you won’t be surprised if you hear of people just getting into their cars without even giving any thought to their trip. However, there is more to it than just getting in your car and going on holiday. There is a lot to consider before embarking on holiday with regards to your car. Here I have compiled a list of vehicle safety and travel tips before you start your journey and during:

Roadworthiness

You don’t want to get pulled over by the police and fined for something that is not roadworthy on your car. Before you start your holiday trip, you can do a visual inspection for yourself to see if there are any problems. After all, it would be the responsible thing to do, for the safety of yourself and your family, to ensure that your car is roadworthy and fit for the route that you plan to travel. To avoid unnecessary troubles on your journey, inspect:

  • your tires (pressure & tread);
  • check your brakes and brake fluid;
  • inspect your lights around the car (Head-, Dim-, Brake- and Reverse Lights);
  • check your windscreen for any chips and cracks;
  • inspect your windscreen wipers.

Don’t Overload

Overloading your car or trailer is UNSAFE. It is very unsafe and, believe it or not, by overloading your car or trailer it costs you more money on fuel. On top of that it causes a lot more wear and tear on your car.

For those who make use of rooftop carriers, pay careful attention to the safe-load weight capacity. Overloading can cause the car to be top heavy and increase the chances of causing or being in an accident.

Remember that a loaded vehicle takes longer to react or stop, so keep a bigger following distance to the car in front.

Trailers

If you are traveling with a trailer for the holiday it is important to consider doing the necessary safety checks and note the maximum load capacity of your trailer. Now, when it comes to packing your trailer, there is always the risk of imbalance as a result of not distributing the load weight evenly.

Think of it as a game of Tetris! When packing your trailer make sure to have the heaviest items stored over the tire’s axle. This will ensure that there is horizontal weight distribution. It would also prevent the trailer from tilting backwards or nose diving, which you would want to avoid at all costs when traveling. The same rule applies to caravans. They should run horizontally behind your car.

Make Regular Stops

It’s important to take care of yourself when traveling long distances, not only for the safety of yourself and your family, but for other road users as well.

  • Stretch your legs
  • Relax and get some fresh air
  • Relieve your bladder or bowel (poop). Holding it in could cause pain and discomfort, or worse, a bladder infection.
  • Have a little snack

There is no rush.

Remember, if you feel tired while traveling on the road, stop and rest. Don’t try and push through and end up regretting it. Everyone wants to get to their destination as quick as possible. What would it help if the lives of you, your family and other road users are being endangered because of your selfishness and stubbornness? The sad truth is, NOTHING!

National Emergency Number/ Ambulance
10177

Store the number on your phone under Emergency or Favorites, so that it is easily accessible. Call them first and give as much information as possible to the operator so that they can dispatch the correct emergency response team. PS…. those little blue square road signs with the numbering are location markers. If you can give that information to the operator it would help immensely to send the response team to the correct location.

To all First Aiders and Good Samaritans who do help at an accident: Please always ensure your safety first! And, from the bottom of my heart I thank you for answering to the call of duty…. Remember your safety comes first. If the scene looks dodgy or unsafe, only call for an Ambulance and avoid becoming a casualty too.

Conclusion

If every South African just took the time to drive safe on the roads. Vehicle safety this festive season is of utmost importance. Stay calm and don’t rush, we can reduce the death toll that is so high on South African roads during this time of year.

Hope everyone has an amazing festive season and remember to take care of each other on our roads to ensure everyone arrives safe at their holiday destinations.

Stay safe and do return home well rested and ready for 2020!!

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Holiday Safety During The Festive Season

We care about you, your safety and health. The festive season in South Africa is exciting and fun filled. Make memories and have fun but please return home from the holidays, safe and recharged for 2020! Make a point of holiday safety during the festive season. It’s also important to remember to keep a list of emergency services numbers in case of an emergency.

Ambulance Service

NATIONAL AMBULANCE NUMBER: 10177

Store the number in your phone under favorites or emergency numbers. If you are involved in an accident, call this number first!! If you come across an accident but are unable to help, please call for an Ambulance (you would want others to call an Ambulance for you…!) First Aiders and Good Samaritans who stop and assist at an accident scene, please ensure your safety first, before you assist others. Regulating traffic or warning others is of great help too.

Holiday Safety Starts Before You Leave Home

  • Make copies of all your credit cards, important identification information, including your medical aid cards. Leave one at home and take one separately. (Just for in case) Copies of passports and visas for those traveling abroad.
  • When it comes to tagging your luggage, never put you home address on, rather write your phone number or email address instead.
  • Take a medical bag.
  • Now this is South Africa so make sure all the doors and windows to your home are secured and locked. It is a big advantage if you have an alarm system installed; remember to arm it when you leave for your holiday. Have a neighbour or friend visit your property now and again.
  • Make arrangements for pets to be taken care of if they are left at home.
  • Posting moments and memories are fine, but for the love of holiday, never post your travel plans on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Protect Your Valuables and Yourself

  • Ensure your car is road worthy and safe for the road. Tyre inspection is most important!!!!! If you don’t know what to look for, take your car to a service station and have them do the inspection.
  • When loading your car for the holiday make sure to load heavier items first. Trailers should have the heaviest items spread across the wheels. A trailer should run horizontally behind the vehicle. Never overload!!! Especially with rooftop carriers, double check the allowed weight limits!! All loads should be secured! Remember that a loaded vehicle takes longer to stop or react, so keep a bigger following distance to the car in front.
  • Make sure you make regular stops to refuel, have bathroom breaks and go for a stroll to get your circulation going.
  • When traveling as a family or group, it is safe practice to have the ‘co-pilot’ stay awake and alert too.
  • Buckle-up!!! Babies and children in car seats!!!! NOT on your lap!!
  • Park your car as close to your destination as possible. Also make sure that your car is parked in an area that is well lit during the night.
  • Always make sure that your car doors are locked, and windows closed. Check three times just to be sure. This is SA. Never leave valuables in open sight in your car. Lock them in the boot, hide them under the seat or leave them on the floor covered with a blanket.
  • Don’t leave your car unattended when the motor is running. (That’s risky! And what are you thinking!)
  • Write your number on your children’s arm in case they get lost when visiting shopping centres or activity centres. Always keep an eye on your children when going on holiday.
  • If you plan on going out painting the town, ask the locals if there are any areas you should avoid.
  • Never leave your phone or wallet in the car. Always keep them on your person.
  • Try to take just enough cash for the day. The holiday is long, leave the rest locked up with your valuables.
  • Don’t show off your December bonus when making a purchase. Keep as little cash as possible. If this is unclear see previous bullet point.
  • Fireworks are beautiful to look at but can cause great damage to property and persons. Please don’t use these whilst under the influence of alcohol. Children should NOT handle fireworks. Ensure the safety of everybody near fireworks and have fire extinguishers available.

Protection from the Sun

The South African summer sun is brutal this time of year. Which is why it must be part of the Holiday Safety During The Festive Season list. Luckily there are things you can do to keep your skin and eyes safe from the dangers of the sun.

  • Use sunscreen that protects against both UV-A and UV-B radiation from the sun. Sunscreen with a SPF rating of SPF 50+. Make sure to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going out into the sun and make sure to apply it often. Reapply the sunscreen after swimming or any physical activity even if it’s waterproof. (Use Organic Sunscreen, to protect our natural water sources)
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are on medication to make sure that it does not cause photo sensitivity, which makes you more susceptible to skin damage from the ultraviolet light of the sun.
  • Make sure to wear a hat or sit under an umbrella during the hottest times of the day. Should you have neither, stay in the shade or an air-conditioned building.
  • Keep hydrated, water is vital in hot weather. Remember that alcohol dehydrates, so drink water during your sessions.
  • Don’t leave food out in the heat. Cover food at all times. It is the Festive season and flies are especially festive creatures…
  • Mosquito’s are also on the Festivities list, so ensure you are protected. Take extra care of babies and children. Mosquito nets to cover beds and Mosquito repellent on bare skin. If you don’t like the sprays add Citronella oil to your body wash and creams.

Don’t worry. Be Happy

By following these summer holiday safety tips, the chances of having your good times spoiled are greatly reduced. Knowing you are doing everything you need to do to ensure your holiday safety during the festive season, and the safety of your loved ones gives you peace of mind as you relax and have fun. Be kind and considerate to fellow holiday makers. We all deserve to be safe and have a relaxing holiday!!!