The holidays loom – be prepared
December has finally landed and hundreds of thousands of people will soon be on the country’s roads heading to their holiday destinations. The Automobile Association (AA) urges all motorists to prepare themselves and their vehicles for this period.
“The annual summer holidays are a great time to relax and recover from the past year, but it is also a time when motorists need to be extra vigilant on the roads.
“Along with plans for the perfect holiday, motorists also need to ensure their vehicles are in tip-top condition for the road, and that their attitudes are similarly in good shape to negotiate the journey,” the AA says.
Following a few basic rules will help ease the journey:
- Plan your route, including stops, and ensure you make provision to stop every 200 km, or every two hours, to rest, refuel and refresh;
- When planning your trip try to avoid the rush days when traffic is bound to be heavy. If possible, leave a day sooner, or a day later. Do the same for the return leg;
- Buckle up. This includes all passengers. Toddlers under three must, by law, be in a car seat;
- Obey all the rules of the road, and drive to the conditions of the road. If the road is marked 120 km/h but visibility is poor, decrease your speed to ensure you can properly see the road ahead;
- Be courteous to other drivers. Remember everyone has a right to be on the road;
- If you need to stay over en route, make sure your arrangements are made before you leave;
- Ensure your car is in good condition, roadworthy and ready to take you to your destination, and bring you home again;
- Inspect your tyres (including the spare tyre) and make sure they have sufficient tread for the road ahead. If they are worn, replace them before you leave;
- Check that you have all the necessary tools to change a tyre if you need to;
- AA members should keep their AA membership cards handy, and download the AA Rescue App for added peace of mind;
- Put your cellphone and other electronic devices away while driving. 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 your regular route would take you to. Take your time and arrive at your destination calm and rested.
“Too often drivers think it’s simply a question of getting in their car and driving off, when, in reality, proper preparation is needed. We are entering a period known for high crash and fatality rates, and everyone on the road during this period needs to do what they can to stay safe,” the AA says.