Be safe this holiday with these handy tips
The holidays are upon us and everyone is looking forward to the long weekend, school holidays and family time.
However, excitement about the holidays is always tempered with concern for road safety, as this time of year is always under the spotlight for the high number of road accidents that occur. Motus Haval has put together some road and vehicle safely tips to raise awareness and help ensure that you and your family arrive at your destination safely.
1. Plan ahead
Plan your holiday route ahead of time, giving yourself enough time on the road to reach your destination without speeding, and taking into account that there may be road works or delays. Use a GPS to guide you to your destination.
2. Have your vehicle serviced
To avoid the inconvenience and expense of a mechanical breakdown, especially on a long trip, have your vehicle checked and serviced by a manufacturer approved dealership a couple of weeks before you leave. That way, if the servicing agent finds any problems, you’ve got enough time to have them fixed.
Always wear your seatbelt and check that everyone else in the vehicle has theirs on too, and also make sure the little ones are secure in their car seats. Safety belts are 99% effective in preventing passengers from being ejected from the vehicle in an accident. Seatbelts prevent the driver and passengers being thrown through the windscreen or smashed into the dashboard should an accident occur.
4. Don’t talk on your cellphone while driving
Even if you are using a hands-free device, try to avoid taking or making calls while driving. Even the smallest distraction from the road can prevent you from making quick, life-saving choices to avoid a potential accident.
5. Keep your distance
Give yourself time to react to an obstruction in the road by following the three-second rule. Pick a landmark like a sign or tree on the road ahead and when the vehicle in front of you passes it, start counting one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand … If you reach the landmark before you count to three, you are following the car ahead of you too closely. This distance should be increased at night, in misty or rainy conditions and when the road is wet.
6. Obey speed limits and always signal
Do not speed. Speeding endangers other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, and speed kills. Rather allow extra time to travel, and always demonstrate your intensions by signalling at least five to eight seconds before you turn to give others a heads-up when you are changing direction. Only overtake when it is absolutely safe to do so. If you are ever in doubt – just don’t do it.
7. Be aware of your surroundings
Continually be aware of upcoming intersections or decision points. Being able to spot a traffic sign early allows you to make these decisions timeously to prevent disasters.
8. Take breaks often to avoid fatigue
Needing to turn up the radio, opening the car window, or having trouble keeping your eyes open and focused on the road could be signs that you are getting fatigued. Pull over and take a 15-30 minute break, stretch and take a walk. On a long trip, stop every two hours for a break. Ensure that you get a good night’s sleep the night before undertaking a long trip, to feel energised and alert when driving.
9. Don’t use cruise control when the roads are wet
Wet roads become more dangerous and challenging to navigate, especially when there is oil residues on roads, or smooth road surfaces and smooth tyres are thrown into the equation. The constant power ratios set by cruise control makes it more challenging to respond quickly when you’re driving on a wet, smooth surface.
10. Keep calm and don’t drink and drive
Be courteous towards fellow road users. Keep your temper and resist the temptation to retaliate if another driver behaves in a way that annoys or frustrates you. Lastly, and most importantly, never drink and drive.