There are still a couple of days before you leave for the annual Easter break holiday, hitting the road with thousands of other families for that long weekend in the bush, on the beach or up in the mountains. Now read this…
Things happen on the road: be one of the proactive minority who hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Your preparation could even help others on the road, so take a few minutes to read up on these five tips for a safer journey.
MORE ROAD-SAFETY FEATURES ON CARMAN’S CORNER
UK road scofflaws hunted – but what about SA?
Bikers: 20% of road deaths so what’s to be done?
The sick joke that’s called driving on SA’s highways
Auto braking: Shouldn’t it be standard on all new cars?
And it doesn’t have to be just for this holiday – make a practice of heeding these tips throughout the year, courtesy of Tiger Wheels and Tyre..
1. Before you leave on your journey…
Make sure, as the driver(s), that you get a good night’s sleep before the trip. Before packing the car pop down to your local fuel station to top off the tank. And while there, check the tyre pressures (check your car’s handbook for the recommended pressures when travelling (as you will be) fully loaded; ask the fuel attendant to watch while you turn on you lights and operate the indicators; make sure the brake fluid reservoir is full, ditto the washer bottle(s). TW&T can help with a tyres and battery check, too.
2. Assemble a road emergency kit…
It pays to be prepared for any emergency. Make sure you have these items in your car: a first-aid kit, a torch, basic tools, wheel locknut key, if you have one, a reflective triangle, your car manual, battery jumper cables, a charged cell phone and its charger. If you are not familiar with the route, add a road map – technology is not infallible!
3. Know how to change a wheel…
So many people don’t, or are physically unable to do so. Sign up for roadside assistance before a long journey. Rather sit and wait for help then get out of your vehicle and risk your safety, especially at night.
4. Practice defensive driving…
That includes not drinking alcohol before driving or continuing to drive when drowsy. Follow the three-car rule: three car-lengths between you and the vehicle ahead, slow down in rain or mist, and reject the stupid concept of ‘road rage’. Take a break every 200km or so – or swop drivers.
5. Have a list of all contacts…
…and keep it in your wallet or purse or glove box (for emergency services, should the worst happen).
Other than the South African emergency number 112 which can be dialed from any cell phone, you should also know the numbers for your insurance company and roadside assistance. Make sure you have your membership numbers available and it is a good idea to keep a written list of all this information in case your cell phone battery dies.
Put a contact labelled ICE in your cellphone. It’s an international convention meaning In Case of Emergency and rescue personnel know to look for it..
And a last point, from Carman’s Corner, for which a number should not be needed. Make sure every person in the car wears a seat belt and that small children are buckled into a quality safety seat. You don’t want to be lying in a hospital bed while your children are in the basement mortuary.
Oh yes, do all of the above again before setting off home after what Carman’s Corner hopes will be a great holiday!