Top tips for holiday road safety

As we have officially entered the festive season, it seems like everyone is heading to a holiday destination or travelling to be closer to family. By taking a few precautions before embarking on your journey, you are making the road safer for yourself and everyone else.

1. Service car and checks tyres
One of the first things you need to do when planning a road trip, is to ensure that your car is in a good and safe condition for the trip.

Has your car been serviced as per its required schedule? This significantly lowers the likelihood of mechanical breakdown as well as the associated expense and inconvenience. If you have recently noticed any strange sounds or faults, such as a faulty break light or a windscreen wiper, be sure to have this taken care of before you embark on your trip.

Equally important is conducting a thorough tyre check. A healthy amount of tread is necessary and a thorough check for any tears or bulges can save your life. Correct inflation is very important as an overinflated tyre can be incredibly dangerous.

2. Check safety equipment
It is important that you check the available safety equipment in your vehicle, before you leave on your journey. You should ideally have one set of jumper cables, three reflective triangles, a strong rope (in case your car needs to be towed) and a first aid kit.

When on the road, make sure you have a fully charged cell phone in the car and consider taking a car charger along to assure that the phone remains charged for the full journey.

3. Remove obstructions
Clean windows, rearview mirrors and side mirrors are necessary to ensure maximum visibility. It is also important to pack the car properly so your luggage doesn’t obstruct the view of the driver. Don’t just squeeze everything into every last gap.

5. Buckle up
Wearing a seatbelt is such a crucial safety measure, yet motorists neglect doing this every day. Safety belts have a massive impact on occupant survival in the case of an accident. This is equally important for passengers sitting at the back as backseat passengers without seatbelts can inflict serious injury on a passenger seated in front due to the force of the impact of an accident.

If you have babies or young children, it is essential that they always travel in a baby car seat or booster child seat. This prevents the child being flung against the windshield or out the car in the case of an accident.

6. Obey the rules of the road
One of the main causes of road accidents in South Africa is still speeding. Make sure that you are keeping within the legal speed limit and keep a safe following distance from the car in front of you, especially when travelling long distances. Over long distances, everyone’s response time will be slower; be sure to give everyone enough time to respond by signaling early when you intend to change direction.

Avoid driving in the yellow line, especially at night, as this puts you at a greater risk to hit a pedestrian or a stray animal and don’t ever use your cell phone while driving. Even though you might be talking on a hands-free kit, making or taking a call will break your concentration and distract you while driving.

7. Be alert
It is the driver’s responsibility to be aware of his surroundings at all times and to think for your fellow drivers. Make sure you take regular breaks to stretch your legs and freshen up as fatigue is a road hazard in itself. Try to drive in two hour shifts if there is anyone else in the car that can relieve you from your driving duties.

Finally, play some music, chat to your fellow travellers, and try to enjoy the road trip; this will keep you positive, alert and aware.

Garrun clients can contact Assist Services for emergency roadside assistance on 0860 427 786.