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Golden Rules for Staying Safe this Holiday Season

After reporting that 60% of national and provincial roads in South Africa were in very poor condition, the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) have listed some golden rules for motorists to observe before departing on their holiday this year.

“It is important to plan your trip and if you are aware of possible delays on a particular route or the general condition of the road you are about to travel on, driver frustration can be minimized because it will be expected.  When traveling to remote areas, check with people at the point of destination what the expected road conditions you are likely to encounter and give them an approximate time of arrival – if you are delayed, let them know.

“Please be aware that the holiday season is a time when many more drivers and pedestrians tend to be on the roads under the influence of alcohol and it is for this reason that motorists can expect higher levels of law enforcement in this regard,” said the AASA.

The AA has listed the following guidelines to assist you on your journey and to help ensure you reach your destination safely:

Lights, indicators, windscreen wipers, brakes, steering, exhaust systems and tyres should be carefully examined for faults.

  • Motorists unsure about the roadworthiness of their vehicles can have a technical examination done at any AA DEKRA centre.
  • Always carry a spare fan belt and radiator hose in the boot; these could save time and money in the event of a breakdown.
  • Check insurance policies. Motor vehicle, householder and life assurance policies should be in order and kept in a safe place.
  • Newspaper and milk deliveries should be canceled and provision made for the care of pets.
  • Travelers should inform their nearest police station of the period that they will be away from home.
  • Families traveling an unfamiliar route must plan their journey, use major routes and try and avoid back roads.
  • Always wear your seatbelt and maintain at least a three to four second following distance.
  • Increase your following distance at night and on wet roads to six seconds or more.
  • Fatigue and eye strain can be avoided by making frequent rest stops; driver changes are advisable at rest stops.
  • Include safety breaks every two hours or every 200 kilometers traveled.
  • Cars should be locked when unattended, with no valuables inside where they can be seen by passer-bys.
  • Never leave children or pets in a locked car, the heat built up in the interior can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke and can be fatal.
  • Carry your driver’s license at all times.
  • Drive with your headlights on all the time – this makes you so much more visible to other road users, especially pedestrians.

“The rules of the road never change and every year we try and reinforce them.”

“There are far too many accidents on the roads every year, and by reinforcing the safety rules we hope to minimise the amount of road deaths and accidents,” says Ronald. “It is imperative that you look after your safety and the safety of your family this festive season,” concludes the AASA.

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