As far as holiday tips go, when it comes to getting our ‘ducks in a row’ before traveling on the road, car safety checks are right up there at the top of the list. We’ve compiled some expert advice regarding all the car safety checks that should be executed before (and during) your road trips.
The following holiday tips are geared around three main aspects – the car itself, the safety of your occupants (especially children), and the drive to your destination.
1. Do a fifteen second walk around your car checking the tyres (make sure that are also in good condition) and check underneath the car for any hazards or obstructions. Check that the licence disk is valid and also make sure the windscreen washers for both the front and the rear are in good working order. These holiday tips may seem obvious, but with all the planning for a trip it’s easy to overlook them.
2. Check that your oil level is correct. If you’re not sure where to check – or if it’s too low – you will need to stop at a garage (petrol/gas station) to top up the oil to the desired amount. Ask the attendant to assist you.
3. Check the water level. Remember that if the water levels are too low, not only could your car overheat, but your windscreen washers won’t work properly. This can become dangerous if a vehicle in front of you splashes dirt your way, and you are unable to clean the windscreen.
4. Check that you have a spare tyre and that it is secure in the wheel storage space. Make sure the spare wheel is properly inflated.
5. If possible, have your car serviced before your trip.
6. Map out your journey thoroughly and allow enough time to get to your destination (including multiple rest stops). GPS has been shown to positively influence road safety. Consider using a GPS system to navigate during your holiday.
1. No list of holiday tips for driving would be worth anything without this one: no drinking while driving. Ever. Not even small amounts of alcohol are okay for the driver; while driving a car, or during rest stops. Drinking in the evening is not a good idea either as in can affect your judgement and reaction times the following day. Get a good nights’ rest before heading off!
2. Restrain all passengers properly with seat belts and never place a rear facing baby seat in the front passenger seat. If you are traveling with pets, make sure they are also in an appropriate travel crate.
3. Take regular breaks during your trip (every 2 hours is recommended) and share the driving with other adults if possible. If you feel at all tired while driving, pull over for a short nap – even 15 minutes can make a life-saving difference. (By the way, why not share these holiday tips with your friends and family on Facebook – it may save a life).
4. Obey the speed limits at all times; be prepared to adapt to different weather conditions and reduce speed accordingly.
5. A safe following distance is very important. Three to four seconds behind the vehicle in front off you is enough to allow gradual breaking should the car ahead suddenly stop.
6. The best chance of safety is 100% concentration on the task of driving. Make sure children are occupied with books or games; (here are some suggestions). Try not to use your hands-free phone as it’s still a distraction (rather call back at the next rest stop).
7. If you have to brake suddenly, all luggage that is not securely fastened becomes a hazard. Hot flasks of coffee are also dangerous, so keep all flasks and snack boxes packed away while not in use.
8. If you need to pull over into the emergency lane (demarcated by a yellow line) make sure it’s not before cresting a rise. Another car may be in this emergency lane just over the rise and you may not see it. Make sure that when you overtake another car that it’s on a straight only (not a hill or a bend) and when it is demarcated by a dotted line.
9. When driving alongside, behind, or in front of a truck make sure to leave some distance between your vehicles. Trucks take longer to stop.
10. Road safety officials advise that you keep your headlights on for the entire trip – as the rule goes: ‘see and be seen’.
You may also like these holiday tips that double as handy tricks to get the best out of your getaway.
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