Written by root. Posted in MOTORING


Published on November 01, 2015 with No Comments

The year end is a good time to rethink road safety for you and your family.


School holidays mean many, including families, are planning on road trips of all kinds. Check out our guides and tips for safe driving to prepare you for a smooth ride and safe arrival at your destination.


Safe Driver

A safe journey begins with you, the driver. There are many ways in which you can ensure the roads are safe for you – as well as for others – to drive.

Attentiveness: An attentive driver focuses only on the driving. This means, don’t try to multi-task by talking on the cell phone, drinking coffee or fiddling with the radio. When you’re not committedly focused on the driving, it can cause you to daydream. “Highway hypnosis” happens, for instance, on long road trips, where you may think about the upcoming vacation or just the stress at work.

Stay attentive by keeping your eyes and your mind on the road and be alert of your surroundings. Check out your map or go through your Waze before starting on the journey to anticipate the roads ahead; allocate plenty of time to reach your destination; adjust mirrors, radio, car seat and other controls before driving; be alert of other drivers and road users; and ensure the passengers equally respect the driver and do not distract him/her from taking their eyes off the road.

Defensiveness: Taking up defensive driving is the best way to protect yourself and others. It prevents you from underestimating other road users and to be ready for any unexpected incidents. Some safe driving precautions to consider include slowing down during inclement weather, not following the vehicle in front of you too closely, checking your mirrors frequently, looking out for pedestrians, and to expect the unexpected.


Make Your Car Safe

We’re all looking for a “safe” car. But what it means really is not buying top-of-the-line car with all the best safety features. There are several ways to turn your car safe for driving especially for long trips.

Child-proof: Children in the car can be 12 times more distracting than mobile phones. Before you drive, take some time to create zones for kids. Seat them in the back. Explain to them their “territories”, i.e. that they should stay securely buckled in their seats, no crossing over to the driver or co-driver’s zones, etc. Go traditional. Refrain from over-dependence of electronic gadgets and in-car TV/video. Let them play with toys or tell them stories to keep them occupied. Let’s create a culture of conversations with our children as opposed to silence on cell phone games.

Don’t forget to pack an emergency kit, too: band aids, flashlight, ointments and medication.

Prepare parents: Prepare your young passengers with snacks, books, activities they can do while on the journey, and schedule pit stops for toilet breaks and stretching of legs. Have a food and drinks basket placed within their easy reach so they do not distract the driver or other passengers during the drive.

Give your children a pep talk about the trip weeks or days before taking it up, including the dos and don’ts during the drive, expected behaviours and the rewards, so they are mentally prepared for it. Stop for breaks to let them stretch their legs (and driver to ease fatigue) and enjoy the scenery. Or try new experiences, such as a small town stall or a dip in the river.


Car Checks

A week before you set off, give your car a onceover to ensure the car you’re driving is road-worthy.

Check the exterior: Check all wiper blades for wear or splitting, the windscreen washer fluid level and ensure the washer jets work. Have your tyres checked for condition (including the spare) for correct pressures and legal tread depth. Check all the exterior lights are working correctly.

Check the interior: While packing for the holidays, don’t forget to safely store the jack, wheel brace, a warning triangle, a fire extinguisher and a high visibility vest in the car. You may want to think about bringing a spare set of keys in case you accidentally lock yourself out or lose them.

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