Roadtrip - a little planning goes a long way on a holiday drive

<b>SAFETY CHECKS:</b> Make sure your car is in perfect working condition before you head off on your Easter holiday in South Africa. <i>Image: iStock</i>
<b>SAFETY CHECKS:</b> Make sure your car is in perfect working condition before you head off on your Easter holiday in South Africa. <i>Image: iStock</i>

Cape Town - April madness is in full swing and hand-in-hand with the promise of a fun holiday comes the certainty of a road trip that will test your patience to the limits.

Rather than learn exactly where those limits are, advance preparation can help you keep your cool while those around you are losing theirs. 

Tiger Wheel & Tyre's group marketing executive, Joe du Plooy, said:  “When you fly, you trust that your pilot will perform a pre-flight inspection and the hostesses will take care of your comfort, so why leave it to chance on a road trip?

"A pre-drive inspection and planning for your comfort is worth every second, so you don’t find yourself wheel-less in Worcester, stranded in Soebatsfontein or at the end of your tether in Geduld.”

Top tips for a hassle-free holiday drive

1. Perform a pre-drive vehicle inspection. Among other things, check that hoses and belts are intact, fluids are topped up, the battery is in good shape and tyres are inflated to the manufacturer-recommended pressure, including the spare.

2. Check tyre tread depth to ensure it’s above the 1mm legal minimum. Again, remember the spare and also check that you have a jack and spanner if you need to change a tyre, plus a torch in case that happens in the dark.

3. If you’re towing a caravan or trailer – check that its lights are working, tyres are roadworthy and inflated, and that it has the required license disc.

4. Plan your route. Use an online resource like Google Maps to determine the best route, the time it will take to drive, to plot sightseeing stops and pinpoint places where you can fuel up your vehicle.

5. Next, print your route out in case you lose GPS or cell phone signal along the way.

6. If you need to break up the journey with an overnight stay, book this in advance so you’re assured of getting accommodation. If you plan on driving to your holiday destination without an overnight stay, remember to stop every two hours or so for a break in order to avoid sleepiness. 

7. Make a list of emergency numbers, including those for any roadside assistance programmes you’re a member of. 

8. Pack a cellphone car charger. The only thing worse than being stranded in Soebatsfontein, is being stranded without the means to call for help. 

9. Pack a first aid kit, a large bottle of water (in case you get stranded or need it for the vehicle), and enough padkos to tide passengers over between stops or so you don’t have to stop. 

10. As for passengers – plan especially well for the entertainment of young kids. If you have an in-car DVD player, take twice as many movies as you think you’ll need. Also pack electronic games and car chargers to keep them running, colouring and activity books, and some surprise new toys are a great way to hold their attention when they hit their boredom threshold. 

Du Plooy added: "If you need help checking your wheels, tyres and automotive battery, stop by your nearest Tiger Wheel & Tyre, where battery and tread checks are always free.

"Lastly, before you take to the road, take a deep breath, relax and remember that the journey is as much a part of the holiday as the destination, so don’t rush it – your safety is more important than a quick arrival."

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