In order to make your trip as safe and pleasant as possible, it’s important to take charge of every aspect of the journey that you can control. Midas, offers the following tips on how to prepare and embark on a long drive – with optimal safety in mind:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare: Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip. It’s easy to overlook low tyre tread or a slight steering pull in the grinding last few weeks of the working year. Small issues like wheel alignment or tyres taking pressure from an increased load, easily become larger (even fatal), ones. So, factor in time to prepare.
- Buckle up and check your safety features: It’s important to ask yourself, how safe is my car? Safety belts are critical for every passenger, no matter where they sit. The instruction to “Buckle up!” is non-negotiable. Statistics show that wearing a seatbelt makes the all the difference in protecting from possible injury, should an accident occur. Also in reducing injury-severity and saving lives. Younger toddlers and babies need to be strapped safely into an approved car seat and unbuckling for a snack shouldn’t be an option. To help avoid little ones getting restless, place a bag of travel activities within their reach or possibly a tablet with their favourite movies downloaded on it. Also, don’t forget the First Aid kits (for car and passengers)!
- Get a good night’s rest and be at your best: Don’t overdo things the day before you leave. Health niggles related to your back, eyesight or ability to concentrate, should be seen to prior. Keep your mind fresh on the trip by stopping every 200km or so. Fatigue is one of the biggest dangers on our roads.
- Know your route: Whether you’re using a map, an app or Satnav, know the route and distance you’re taking and keep to familiar ones if possible. If you’re venturing into unknown or remote areas, factor-in extra time and take emergency supplies like water and a powerbank.
- Defensive driving: Always apply the defensive driving principle. Rather be cautious and look out for other drivers’ erratic behaviour. Statistics show that alcohol is a factor in 58 percent of road fatalities in SA! Speeding and using a cell phone while driving are other contributing factors.
- Choose the smart speed: Going too fast or too slow can significantly increase the risk of an accident. Go too slow and everyone will want to get past and take chances – putting you into the path of danger. Drive too quickly and you may not able to slow down in time, if something goes wrong. It’s safest to stick to the speed limit. Never overtake if you’re not sure you’ll get to the other side safely and always leave margin for error.
- Drive during the day: Many prefer driving long-distance at night because the roads are quieter. Yet stats show that driving then is a lot more dangerous. There’s obviously a significant decrease in visibility and diminished speed/distance. You may contend with more traffic and summer heat, when driving during the day, but it’s still, by far, the safest. Your holiday should start from the moment you leave home, make the most of your journey and see the travel time together as an adventure that good memories are made from!