Top tips for a safer holiday

2013-09-18 16:35

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With Heritage Day on Tuesday, 24 September and school holidays taking place, many South Africans will be taking to the roads for a long weekend break or spring time holiday.

It is important to take time to appreciate the scenery, but remember to also remain vigilant of road conditions at all times. Remember, it’s about the journey and not just the destination.

The AA has some top tips to remember when taking to the roads for your break:

1.    It is always a good idea to have your vehicle checked before you leave on a long journey. If it’s due, have your vehicle serviced. You can take your car to a DEKRA centre for a safety check.

2.    Make sure your route is well planned. Have the maps easily available or make sure your GPS is charged up and the destination programmed ahead of time.

3.    The day before the trip, give your car an inspection; check all of the vehicle’s lights – head lights, brake lights, tail lights and indicators - check the windscreen for chips and cracks, and make sure the windscreen wipers work and are in good condition. Fill up the water reservoir, check the oil level and brake fluid, and inspect the condition of all the tyres, including the all-important spare wheel and tools.

4.    Make sure you’re aware of the toll roads along your planned route and the relevant fees charged. If you’re not paying with a credit or debit card, have spare change ready to save time.

5.    Plan your rest stops – identify the filling and rest stations along your route. It is important to plan where you can fill up with fuel, let the kids stretch their legs, and enjoy some refreshment. Fatigue remains one of the biggest killers on our roads, so rest every 200 km or at least every two hours of driving. If you’re tired, don’t drive.

6.    The laws do not change just because you are on holiday. The same road rules apply such as driving sober (no drinking and driving), always wearing seatbelts, obeying the speed limits and keeping a safe following distance at all times. Obey the rules – you don’t want to spend your holiday behind bars.

7.    Always buckle up. Even if you are driving a short distance from the beach, and regardless of whether you are sitting in front or in the back, it’s essential to wear your seat belt. Not only is this the law, but it could save your life. And remember, no hanging out of vehicle windows while driving.

8.    Plan ahead to keep the kids busy. This will help prevent unnecessary distractions for the driver.

9.    If you are travelling beyond South Africa’s borders, make sure you have done your research on the local road rules and any requirements for vehicles and documentation before you head out. They could be different to South African rules and you don’t want to be caught out when you get there.

10.We share the road with thousands of motorists and we all need to be courteous towards one another. Be safe on the roads but most importantly enjoy the drive.

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