How to make the most of your next road trip

There has never been a better time to get behind the wheel and take in South Africa’s splendid springtime scenery…

Spring is definitely here, bringing with it long, sunny days and plenty of opportunities to get out and about. There has never been a better time to get behind the wheel and take in South Africa’s splendid springtime scenery.

Unfortunately, with the increase in road activity comes the heightened risk of accidents, with South Africa’s roads known to be particularly perilous over holiday periods. As such, a bit of planning is well advised to ensure your vehicle is ready to withstand a long-haul journey and that you and your family know what to do in the event of an unforeseen breakdown or collision.

So before you plan your playlists, pack your snacks and load the car to set off on your next adventure, here are some top tips to bear in mind to make this road trip your best one yet:

Give your car a good once over

Do not let your best laid plans become derailed as a result of negligence. Before setting off on your trip, make sure to give your car a thorough inspection, checking your tyres, oil, petrol and water levels, as well as your windscreen wipers and lights. Make sure you have all your necessary tyre changing equipment on hand too, so that you are able to get yourself back up and running again should you fall victim to a puncture.

Plan out your route

Yes, Google Maps is a great help when it comes to road tripping, but it is no substitute for familiarising yourself with your route beforehand. That way, should you find yourself in areas of no signal, you will still have a good idea of where to go. Additionally, this old school method does not require you to look at a phone screen and enables you to plan your rest stops ahead of time so that you can stay alert and avoid any unwelcome moaning from the back seat.

Prepare for the unexpected

While rest and relaxation should be your primary priority on any road trip, it is also important to be prepared in case of an emergency. Make sure to keep all your personal details on hand and easily accessible should you be involved in an accident and ensure all travellers are wearing any necessary medical alert bracelets so that medics know how to treat them. It is also important to store a few ‘ICE’ (in case of emergency) numbers in your phone, so that your loved ones are easily reached should you be involved in an accident.

Keep the little ones happy

Driver distraction is one of the most common causes of accidents, so if you are travelling with the whole family in tow, it is good to have a plan to keep fidgeting to a minimum. Classic car games like ‘I Spy’ can be effective in keeping the little ones entertained, and there are plenty of great road trip apps now available for tablets and phones that don’t require any driver input. Make sure to stock up and keep plenty of food and drinks on hand so as to keep your focus squarely on the road ahead.

Stay alert

When you are behind the wheel, your mental alertness is all important, so make sure to make it a priority, even if you are in a hurry to kick off your shoes and put your feet in the sand. Make sure to stop and refresh yourself regularly and choose an upbeat playlist that keeps your energy up. Try to avoid sugary or heavily caffeinated food and drink, as this can cause energy levels to spike and dip, leaving you compromised in the face of oncoming traffic. Remember, should you at any time feel fatigue coming on, pull over and take a break – your destination will still be there when you arrive. 

Mobile management

Your mobile phone can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to long distance travel, so it is important that you find your balance. While cellphones have been directly attributed to numerous accidents, they are also your lifeline to the world in case of emergency, so it is very important to ensure you keep yours charged throughout your journey. However, you would be well advised to set your phone to silent or ‘Drive mode’, so that you are not distracted by notifications or tempted to sneak a peek at your latest WhatsApp message.

Words by Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay Head of Marketing & Brand.