The festive season sees our national roads at their busiest, with an increase in motor-vehicle related accidents. To ensure your trip is a safe as possible, we’ve put together this list of 10 car tips that will help you be prepared and safe on your journey.
If you’re visiting friends or family, let them know when you’re departing and check-in with them along the way. Similarly, if you are not visiting friends or family, then let them know about your journey, check-in along the way and let them know you’ve arrived safely.
Take your car to a garage before your trip and make sure everything is ship shape. You’ll want to make sure your tyres have enough tread (including the spare!) and are inflated to the correct pressure, your brakes are working correctly, check the oil and water and ensure all your lights are in working order. While it is summer, you’ll still want to make sure your wipers are in good condition. If anything about your car doesn’t seem quite right, make sure to have it checked out and fixed before you head out. Safety first!
Although you’ll probably have a GPS with your on your trip, it’s a good idea to keep a backup that doesn’t rely on digital technology. If you don’t have detailed map books of South Africa or don’t wish to purchase any, you can plan your journey out in an online maps program and print out your route. Be sure to print it large enough so that you can see which streets you need to take.
There’s nothing worse than having to listen to the same 3 CDs over and over again, and trying to find a decent radio station isn’t always possible. To prevent boredom and a silent car, create music playlist for your journey. To keep things fair and the in-car fights to a minimum, let every family member create a playlist and play them on rotation. ProTip: FM Transmitters that plug into your phone or music player are an easy way to listen to custom playlists, even if you have an older car radio.
Boiled eggs, chicken mayonnaise sandwiches and biltong are old favourites, but extended car journeys are also a great way to give those picnic ideas a try. Be sure to stop every 200km or 2 hours to hydrate. If you need a coffee fix, bring a thermos flask filled with your favourite brew or hot water for instant, you’ll save a little and avoid iffy garage java.
Although a thorough pre-check and good planning will make for a safer journey, being prepared for any unexpected bumps in the road is also important. A wheel spanner and jack, jumper cables, first aid kit, flashlight are the bare essentials. but more complete kits are also available.
Tempting as it may be, spending hours in the sun without protection results in painful sunburns and can result in lasting damage. Hats and sunscreen are recommended even if you are only hopping out of the car and stretching your legs for a few minutes.
Keep a list of emergency numbers in your vehicle and on your phone should the worst happen. In the event of encountering a road accident, do not hesitate to call on the emergency services.
Keep enough small change and notes in your car so that toll-booth experiences are quick and painless. If you’re running low on small change, don’t be shy to ask for some at a petrol station.
There are many options when it comes to in-car distractions for kids. Depending on your budget, you could have a video games console in the back or a collection of in-car games that require little more than paper and dice.