Arrive alive this holiday

Generic photo of a car.
Generic photo of a car.

As the year draws to an end and many of us hit the road, our motoring writer Thembekile Vokwana shares some of his favourite tips for staying safe.

After a somewhat challenging 2017, I’m sure, like me, you are looking forward to leaving your stresses behind and getting away from the big city for a few days to relax.

Most of us also use this time to visit our parents’ homes. If you’ll be driving this busy season, it’s important to plan for the journey, so you don’t get caught out

Car service: Take your car in for a check-up. Make sure you check if the battery is in good condition, lights are working, and the tyre pressure is correct. Don’t forget the spare wheel.

Plan your journey: Look out for road works on your route, as these can cause delays. A longer-than-expected time on the road can turn into a nightmare, especially if you are travelling with kids. Check the weather, as rain will affect visibility, and can lead to flash floods in extreme cases.

In case of emergency: Charge your power bank, which can come in handy during emergencies, and don’t forget your cellphone cable so you can charge your phone while driving. Invest in a good-quality torch for when you’re on the road at night. My dad used to travel with a hand pump, which came in handy when we had slow punctures. Get one if you can — you never know when you might need it.

Rest: I am one of those people guilty of not sleeping properly before a long drive (probably due to excitement), but it’s very important to have a good night’s. Fatigue sets in when driving long distances; this is exacerbated by heavy traffic and heat if you are driving during the day. Also take pit stops during the drive: a 30-minute rest won’t add much time to your journey. Fatigue is one of the biggest causes of accidents.

Security: When you leave your car, make sure that your doors are properly locked to avoiding becoming a victim of jamming. Don’t press your remote while walking away and assume that the doors are locked, check them.

Obey road rules: People tend to ignore this crucial area, as they are excited to get to their destination. But you don’t want to be stopped by law-enforcement officers for speeding or reckless driving, or cause an accident because of your driving behaviour. Remember you are on holiday, and not rally driving!

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