If you’ll be making your way to a holiday destination over the Easter long weekend. it is important to prepare well for the journey, whether you’re travelling for just a few hours or embarking on a long road trip with overnight stops.
The best thing you can do as a driver is to be prepared as much as possible and plan ahead. Plan your route, be prepared to pay a fee at toll gates and let friends or family know where you will be going.
Rather be overprepared than not at all. This also includes making sure that you are well-rested, sufficiently nourished and hydrated for the drive.
Prepare a physical list of emergency and roadside assist numbers with the membership numbers of programmes you subscribe to. Don’t forget to pack chargers for all electronic equipment and cell phones; a fully charged power bank is useful too if you have one.
Ensure the car’s first-aid kit is well stocked and check the expiry dates on all medicines. Pack healthy travel snacks and drinks to avoid the risk of an energy crash. Besides your drinking water, store a big bottle of water for general use, and also remember a good torch, a reflective emergency warning triangle sign and battery jumper cables.
If you’re heading out for the Easter long weekend, Gumtree lists these tips to make sure you and your vehicle are in top shape for the road ahead:
It is also important to have your battery checked by an authorised dealer. This is a simple and relatively quick test and, while a battery replacement can be relatively pricey, so could the cost of a tow truck needed to come to your rescue.
Effective brakes are crucial on all vehicles, not only during long-distance driving but in general. Brake pads should be inspected by a qualified technician – any squeaks or scraping sounds are signs that brake replacements are probably necessary. Vibrations on your pedal when braking is a sign of warped discs, which indicates that the brakes either need skimming or replacing.
Most modern cars make the inspection of fluid levels such as coolant, power steering and brake fluid quite easy for the average driver. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, have them checked by your dealer or at the filling station. If the car is lacking the required fluid, this could lead to overheating during the drive.
One of the most important (and cheapest to replace) items on your pre-travel checklist should be your car’s lighting system. Ask a friend or family member to help in ensuring that all lights including headlights, taillights, brake lights, hazard lights and indicators are working properly. It is recommended to drive with your lights on at all times on a long journey, as another safety measure.
Before you set off, remember to check the tread on your tyres, and pressure, which should be adjusted for heavy loads – but never to more than the recommended manufacturer specifications, which are usually found inside the filler flap or on a sticker on one of the front door jams. It’s also a good idea to check the spare wheel’s pressure and tread before you embark on your trip.
Any streaks or smears on your windscreen is a sign that your wipers may need to be replaced. Driving through rain or a thunderstorm with worn wiper blades is an extremely dangerous and unnecessary risk, even more so on long drives.
Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local service information close to home.