Make the long weekend safe for you and your family

AA offers top tips for holiday travel

Heritage Day this year falls on Thursday 24 September and many South Africans will use this as an opportunity to extend the weekend for a break with family and friends. Roads across South Africa may become busier as many people drive for a quick getaway.

While this may be the ideal time to enjoy the improving weather, it is also important that motorists respect the rules of the road and remain vigilant at all times.

“Always have your vehicle checked before you embark on your journey. Ensure your car’s wipers, lights, windscreen, tyres and brakes are working properly and that everything mechanical is in good condition to take you to your destination and bring you back safely. It is also important to check that anything you will be towing is in good condition and ready for the road,” the Automobile Association says.

The AA advises that you plan your route carefully making provision for regular stops along the way if you are going to be driving long distances. Motorists should stop to stretch their legs every 200km or two hours. It is always better to reach your destination later than not at all so rest when you need to. To assist planning your route visit for our easy-to-use route planner available under the AA Free Tools tab.

To ensure you have a hassle-free break, the AA also advises motorists to download the AA Rescue App which puts safety in the palm of your hand. The app allows users to quickly access assistance from the AA and is available to anyone with a smartphone, whether they are an AA Member or not.

To register visit and follow the easy steps. The app is available on iOS, Blackberry and Android platforms.

“The same rules apply to you when you are driving on holiday as when you are not. Everyone should be buckled up, you should respect the rules of the road and you should always drive sober. Never use cellphones while driving and children should be kept busy with books, games or electronic devices to prevent them from distracting the driver,” the AA says.

 It is imperative that drivers also always keep a safe following distance while driving. The AA recommends that drivers have at least a two second gap between themselves and the vehicles in front of them. Select a physical landmark on the side of the road and when the vehicle in front of you passes that mark count off two seconds before you pass that same landmark. If you pass the mark within that timeframe, chances are that you are too close to the vehicle in front of you.

“This is only a guide. If the weather is especially bad and the roads are wet, or if you driving at night and there is limited lighting or visibility, this should be increased to at least six seconds. It is always important to ask yourself if you will be able to stop without colliding with the vehicle in front of you if that vehicle stops immediately,” the AA says. 

For those travellers who have not yet finalised their long weekend or end-of-year holiday plans, the AA offers a range of services that will make planning much easier.

AAQA Accommodation offers travellers access to a variety of guest houses, bed and breakfasts, game lodges and self-catering accommodation. Visit for a range of AA Quality Assured accommodation in all nine provinces, as well as special offers and other travel services that will assist you make the right decision for your holiday destination.

Contact AASA Public Affairs
Telephone 011 799 1126

Roadside assist | Tools & guides | Travel | Legal | Sitemap