Before the motorist goes on the road and especially the person 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:
- The first priority before any trip is undertaken, is to check vehicle safety. All lights and indicators, windscreen wipers, brakes, steering, exhaust system and tyres should be carefully examined for faults. Motorists unsure or concerned about the roadworthiness of their vehicles, can have a pre-holiday technical examination done at any AA Technical Centre throughout South Africa - with the examination undertaken at a nominal fee.
- Motorists are advised 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, and it is also advisable to carry a spare ignition key.
- It is also advisable before leaving on a long journey to check insurance policies. Motor vehicles, householder, houseowner and life assurance policies should be in order.
- Newspaper and milk deliveries should be canceled and provision made for the care of pets. As a further precaution, travellers should inform the nearest police station that they will be away from home.
- Families travelling an unfamiliar route must plan their journey. 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 they cut travelling distance.
- While traveling, motorists should ensure their own safety, and that of their families 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.
- Fatigue and eye strain can be avoided by making frequent rest stops. Driver changes at rest stops are also advisable. It is advisable to include safety breaks every two hours or 200 kilometres, as this will reduce fatigue levels.
- Cars should be locked when unattended, with no valuables inside the vehicle where they can be seen by passers-by. Never leave children or pets in a locked car - the heat built-up in the interior can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke and can be fatal.
- It is also important that motorists carry their drivers licence at all times. This is required by legislation.
Hints provided by the AA (Automobile Association)
Route Planner and Planning your trip in South Africa
Packing the Vehicle Safely for the Road Trip