PUBLIC schools across SA close on December 4 and the Automobile Association (AA) urges all motorists to prepare now for what is traditionally the busiest and most dangerous time to be on South African roads.“Statistics show more people are on our roads during the holiday break, and more people die in car crashes during this festive period than any other time. “Preparing your vehicle ahead of the holidays is important, but so is ensuring that you have a positive attitude behind the wheel, especially if you are going to be travelling long distances,” said the AA.The association says all vehicles — including trailers and caravans — must be roadworthy and thoroughly checked before embarking on a long journey. It says these vehicles should be in good enough condition for a round trip to your destination and back home again.“If your vehicle needs a service, book it in as soon as possible, as spaces get filled closer to the holiday season and you may not get a slot. If this happens, you run the risk of leaving on a long journey with a vehicle that may not be as sound as you think. And, don’t forget your trailers and caravans. Check tyres, spare wheels, nuts, bolts and axles. Don’t risk your holiday plans by having a towed vehicle break down due to bad planning or non-servicing,” warned the AA.If you have a vehicle which is out of warranty, or which has outlived its service plan, pick up a product that will cover your high-risk maintenance and service needs.In addition, the AA says road death statistics show that around 92% of all vehicle fatalities in the country are a result of human behaviour, rather than vehicle, road or environmental conditions.“These numbers show that drivers need to adjust their attitude when they are behind the wheel. Put your mobile phones away while driving, adhere to the speed limit, obey the rules of the road, and importantly, be courteous to other drivers and enjoy the journey,” said the AA.THE ASSOCIATION OFFERS THE FOLLOWING QUICK CHECKLIST FOR MOTORISTS:· Plan your route, including stops, and ensure you make provision to stop every 200km or every two hours to rest, refuel and refresh.· Look at the planning of your trip and avoid the rush days when there is bound to be heavier traffic on the roads. · Buckle up. · Obey all the rules of the road, and drive to the conditions. · Remember, everyone has a right to be on the road.· Make sure of arrangements for overnight accommodation before you leave. · Inspect tyres (including the spare tyre) and make sure they have sufficient tread for the road ahead. · Check you have all the necessary tools to change a tyre if needed, including a red warning triangle. · Download the AA app on your mobile phone for easy use in case of an emergency. · Focus on the road and on other drivers. Distracted driving diminishes reaction time.· Plan a route off the beaten path and experience a bit more of South Africa than the regular routes. Take time and arrive at your destination calm and rested. · Another good tip is always to have water, a first aid kit, and a mobile phone charger in your car for emergencies.“The festive season is a time of family and friends; it should not be spent on the side of the road with a broken down vehicle, or stranded without accommodation. Plan you trip properly, prepare your vehicle for you and your family’s safety and, most importantly, said the AA. — Supplied.