Important holiday road safety tips to see you through to 2018

Here’s a handy holiday checklist to keep on hand this festive season…

Summer is here, but holiday bliss can quickly turn to holiday blues in the event of a breakdown or car accident. With festive fatalities spiralling ever upward, it’s never been more important to ensure that your vehicle is ready to take on the road during the December rush.

So before you strap the family in and hit the open road, it’s vital that you give your vehicle a thorough once-over, ensuring that all systems are in good working order, and that often overlooked elements like tyre pressure and water levels are checked.

By taking some time to double check your car’s roadworthiness before setting off, you could save yourself plenty of hassle and heartache this holiday season. Here’s a handy holiday checklist to keep on hand this festive season:

  1. Service

Nothing ruins a holiday like a mid-highway blowout, so it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is inspected prior to departure by an authorised dealership or auto-repair shop. They should pay special attention to mechanical and electrical systems, as these can be very costly to repair once broken.

  1. Oil and water checks

This is something offered to us whenever we top up with fuel, but is an option we seldom take up. It’s important that you keep tabs on both your oil and water, as a lack of either can cause significant damage to your engine. In most cars, by the time the oil light comes on, the engine has already been compromised, so it’s vital to check up on this as regularly as possible.

  1. Weigh up the pros and cons of aircon

With many of us feeling the festive pinch, the temptation to conserve fuel by shutting off the aircon is probably strong for many. But while air conditioning does put added pressure on the engine, there is in fact very little change in fuel economy, particularly in modern cars. As such, it’s probably best to go with what’s most comfortable for you and your family, as this is likely to keep the kids quieter and enable you to remain more focused on the road.

  1. Tyre pressure

Correctly inflated tyres are not only a safety requirement, but can also improve fuel efficiency by about 4%. It’s also important to bear in mind that, should you be carrying a heavy load, you’ll probably need to pump them up a little bit more than usual. If you’re unsure of the correct inflation pressures, look on the inside of the driver’s door jamb or under the fuel filler flap for a tyre pressure chart.

5. Stay charged

While it’s important not to use your phone while driving, your mobile device can be a lifesaver in the event of an emergency. Not only is it your lifeline to outside assistance, but it can also help you to navigate your way out of unknown or dangerous areas thanks to built-in GPS technology. So make sure to invest in a car charger for those long journeys – it could be the difference between life and death.

6. Get tracked

Serious accidents can leave us incapacitated and unable to call for help, which is why a tracking device for your vehicle could make a critical difference to your road trip this year. Thanks to impact sensors, these devices can automatically send an emergency notification to your insurer should you find yourself in an accident, even if you aren’t physically able to. Be sure to check that your insurance cover also includes ambulance services and towing before setting off, as this could save you a lot of money in the long run.

7. Stay alert

Drivers falling asleep behind the wheel is a major cause of crashes, so even though it might be tempting to reach your destination a day earlier, it’s vital that you pay attention to your body, and stop when you feel your eyes drooping. By staying alert, you’ll be better equipped to scan for potential dangers, and to keep your speed consistent in accordance with the weather conditions, so ensure you take regular breaks to freshen up during the journey and never compromise on a good night’s sleep.

8. Keep the kids buckled up

In many instances, backseat passengers tend not to make use of a seatbelt, particularly when the kids are overexcited. Yet the reality is that, despite preconceptions to the contrary, they are just as much at risk as their front seat counterparts. So don’t make buckling up an adults-only priority this festive season.

For more information on car insurance, visit www.miway.co.za.

By: Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay Head of Marketing & Brand