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?
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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!!