It’s a time of year when many people across South Africa are putting the final touches on their annual vacation plans. Holidays in South Africa mean hundreds of thousands of people will be on the country’s roads, and the Automobile Association (AA) is urging all motorists to prepare themselves and their vehicles for this busy period.
“The annual summer holidays are a great time to relax and recover from the past year. But it is also a time when motorists need to be extra vigilant on the roads. Along with plans for the perfect holiday, motorists also need to ensure their vehicles are in tip-top condition for the road, and that their attitudes are similarly in good shape to negotiate the journey,” the AA said.
The AA urged anyone planning to travel by road later this year to follow some basic rules to ensure their journey, and their holiday, is safe.
- Plan your route, including stops, and ensure you make provision to stop every 200kms or every two hours to rest, refuel and refresh
- Look at the planning of your trip and avoid the rush days when there is bound to be heavier traffic on the roads. If possible, leave a day sooner, or a day later. Do the same for the return leg of your journey
- Buckle up. This includes all passengers, including toddlers under three who, legally, must be in a car seat
- Obey all the rules of the road, and drive to the conditions of the road. If the road is marked 120km but visibility is poor, decrease your speed to ensure you properly see the road ahead
- Be courteous of other drivers. Remember everyone has a right to be on the road
- If you need to stay over make sure your arrangements are done before you leave.
- Ensure your car is in good condition and roadworthy and ready to take you to your destination, and bring you home again
- Inspect your tyres (including the spare tyre) and make sure they have sufficient tread for the road ahead. If they are worn replace them before your leave
- Check that you have all the necessary tools to change a tyre if you need to
- Keep your AA membership card handy in case you need it. Also download the AA Rescue App (www.aarescure.co.za) for added peace of mind
- Put your cellphone and other electronic devices away while driving. Focus on the road and on other drivers. Distracted driving diminishes your reaction time
“Too often drivers think it’s simply a question of getting in their car and driving off, when in reality proper preparation is needed. We are entering a period known for high crash and fatality rates and everyone on the road during this period needs to do what they can to stay safe,” the AA said.
“Drivers who don’t obey the rules, who drive as if they are the only road users entitled to be there, are a danger to everyone else. Drivers need to calm down, and realise that the roads will be busier now. Everyone wants to have a happy and incident free holiday but this can only happen if everyone respects the rights of other drivers.”