It’s that time of year again. People will be travelling down to the coastal regions in their thousands for some sun, sand, sea and a good dose of relaxation. The road trip can even be part of the fun. Unfortunately, along with increased traffic comes increased levels of casualties on the road. From your windscreen to tips for keeping your focus, here’s the need to know information about driving during the holiday season, especially long distance.
Be aware of the danger
Road accident stats in South Africa can be shocking with our death rate more than double the global average. Over last year’s December festive period, a total of 1755 people were killed on South Africa’s roads. These are terrible statistics, but fortunately South African drivers are starting to become aware of just how dangerous our roads can be, particularly over holiday periods.
This year, fatalities over the Easter period amounted to 156 – still a large number, but nearly half of what it was in 2015.
Being aware of the danger and proactive about your family’s safety could be the difference between an easy and stress-free trip and one ending in a crash.
Maintain your vehicle well
Make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and maintained before hitting the road. Cars that have been badly maintained are more likely to break down or cause an accident. Check everything before you leave. That niggling sound it makes as you accelerate or a funny feeling that’s been building up over the last few months should definitely not be ignored!
If you have cracks or chips in your windscreen glass, take your car to a windscreen repair fitment centre to see whether you need work done. Check the oil and water too. If a service is looming, remember to arrange it before your trip. Finally, make sure to check your wheels and tyres before making the trip down to the coast, as tyres can be crucial in maintaining the safety of you and your family – after all, they’re the only part of your car that has contact with the road!
Entertain the kids
Kids get bored easily, especially if they’re younger and expected to sit still in a car for hours upon end. Really, who can blame them? To keep the kids happy, remember to stop every couple of hours. Stretch your legs, get a bite to eat or a bottle of water, and let everyone take a little break.
On top of that, bring along games they can play, books to read, and even a TV show or two for them to watch on an iPad or similar. Even if they don’t normally watch much TV, it’s a great distractor! Have shades for the windows so that the kids can sleep without getting hot too. As much as you love the little ones kids shouting, screaming, complaining or trying to unbuckle themselves can be really dangerous as not only are they at risk of hurting themselves, but they tend to distract the driver. On that note, make 100% sure that everyone is securely strapped in for the duration of the journey too. When driving over the holiday period, it is even more important that the driver stay completely focused on the road.