Heading out for the holidays? Here's how packing the car correctly can save lives in SA

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Packing the car for the holidays
Packing the car for the holidays

• Packing luggage for the holiday is an important aspect of traveling that is often disregarded.

• Ideal weight distribution of the luggage can save lives on the road.

• With lockdown restrictions lifted, more people will take to the roads.

For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

Going away for the holidays can be both daunting and exciting, especially if you have a big family. If you have little ones, you have the added task of ensuring you pack everything they will need, which might feel as if you are trying to pack the entire house into the boot of the car!

As the country has seen lockdown restrictions being lifted, more people have taken to the road for personal leisure trips. However, this has also increased accidents and fatalities on the road. At WesBank, we encourage everyone to remain safe at all times and to be mindful of other road-users - drivers, commuters and pedestrians - as they set off on their journey.

As more and more people gear up for a road trip following a lengthy period spent indoors as a result of the pandemic, WesBank has outlined some useful tips for stress-free and safe travel on the country's highways and roads.

- Don't leave packing to the last minute as you could risk leaving things behind or end up packing the car in an unsafe manner in the rush to get going.

- Try to ensure you pack everything you might need, by starting a checklist a few days before you leave and adding things as they come to mind.

- When travelling with younger kids, always ensure they are safely strapped into a car seat. Depending on their age, always ensure the car seat is placed correctly - instructions are often made available on the side of the seat. For older children, ensure they make use of a safety belt at all times.

Travel,Traffic,Cape Town
Taking to South African roads this festive season

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- When packing the car, place heavy and large items at the bottom of the boot and put them as far forward as possible to keep the centre of gravity low and optimise weight distribution.

- Avoid packing items above the line of the back seats as this will obscure your rear-view and also put passengers at risk of a serious injury in the case of a collision.

- Invest in a net, protective screen or safety partition to secure the items and prevent them from flying forward should you need to brake suddenly.

- Always have a clear vision of the road and other road users. Poor visibility contributes to pedestrian deaths, accidents and road trauma.

- You need a clear line of sight through your front windshield and side mirrors and, ideally, through your rear-view mirror and rear window.

- An obscured rear window makes driving difficult and creates risk when reversing. Maintain rearward visibility for a safer driving experience.

- Take regular breaks during the trip to refresh, stay hydrated and stretch the legs.

- Swop drivers every few hours, if possible, but always look out for a safe place off the road to stop the car.

Wesbank understands that people are excited to get out of the house and head off to their holiday destination, to venues which are allowing visitors this season. However, we always encourage road-users to put safety first and take safety precautions. By packing the car correctly, as one example, you could avoid serious injuries in the unfortunate event of an accident. Remember the planning and packing ahead of time to ensure that you and your family enjoy a pleasant journey, and arrive at your holiday venue safely.

Lebogang Gaoaketse is the head of marketing and communication at WesBank Motor.

Lebogang Gaoaketse
Lebogang Gaoaketse
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