Safety hints when planning a road trip

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Before you hit the road and especially if going on a long journey or holiday, there are certain things to keep in mind on road safety and to check for yourself. The following useful hints have been advised by the Automobile Association:

  • Before any trip is undertaken, the first priority is to check vehicle safety. All lights and indicators, windscreen wipers, brakes, steering, exhaust system and tyres should be carefully examined for faults. If you are unsure or concerned about the roadworthiness of your vehicle, you can have a pre-holiday technical examination done at any AA Technical Centre throughout South Africa for a nominal fee.
  • It is advisable to always carry a spare fan belt and radiator hose in the boot, even if the vehicle has been given a clean bill in a technical inspection. These could save time and money in the event of a breakdown. It is also advisable to carry a spare ignition key.
  • Before leaving on a long journey, always check your insurance policies. Motor vehicles, householder, houseowner and life insurance policies should be in order.
  • Cancel all newspaper deliveries and remember to make provision for the care of your pets.
  • Plan your journey if you are taking an unfamiliar route. The AA offers members a wide range of route maps, town plans, brochures and road reports. Individually planned itineraries are available to members on request. It also makes good sense to use major routes and not back roads, even if these reduce your travelling distance.
  • Ensure your own safety, and that of your family and other road users, by using seatbelts and maintaining a two-second following distance. Following distances must be increased at night, in foggy or rainy conditions and when the road is wet.
  • Avoid fatigue and eye strain by making frequent rest stops every two hours or 200 kilometres. Driver changes at rest stops are also advisable.
  • Lock your car when unattended and make sure that any valuables that have to be left inside the vehicle cannot be seen by passers-by. Never leave children or pets in a locked car, as the heat built up in the interior can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke and can be fatal.
  • Carry your driver’s licence at all times as this is required by legislation.

Also read:

Road-tripping with young children
Car safety for pregnant drivers