While Castrol places a lot of emphasis on performance, maintenance and the protection of your vehicle engine, the importance of road safety is always top of mind. There’s no point in racing to the finish line, you need to get to your destination safely. With the holiday season nearly upon us, now is as good a time as any other to pay special attention to some tried and tested road safety tips. After all, you can’t keep your family too safe, can you?
Consider Even the Smallest Family Members
Thinking ahead is essential if you plan to ensure the safety of your family. For example, if you have small children or babies, there is absolutely no way that you should be travelling (even on short trips) without an appropriate car seat. According to South African law, small children up to the age of three or under 21kg must be strapped into a car seat.
Take Care of Your Car
When it comes to your car, you need to check that your indicators, steering, tyres, windscreen wipers, spare wheel and brakes are all in perfect working order and that your car is 100% roadworthy. Worn shocks, brakes and tyres will only exasperate a dangerous situation, if not cause an accident.
Plan Your Route
It is best to have a GPS or a map at hand and to plan your route before you leave. This way you know where your rest stations are and where you can refuel your car. Ideally you want to stick to major routes and toll roads, just for peace of mind.
Some Common Sense Road Safety Tips
- Do not overload your car
- Ensure you are well rested before you start driving
- Take breaks every two hours
- Never drink and drive
- Wear a seatbelt and ensure all of your passengers wear theirs
- Don’t get distracted by your cell phone, rather keep your eyes on the road
While on the Road
While you are driving there are safety risks everywhere. By driving defensively you are more likely to avoid a collision. Defensive driving is a practice whereby you anticipate danger so that you are more prepared to react in a timeous manner. It is as simple as keeping your eyes on the road, your hands on the steering wheel and you are driving within the speed limit at all times. Where other cars are concerned you need to be extra vigilant to ensure that your lights are on when necessary, you keep a safe following distance and avoid driving in the blind spot of other vehicles.
Driving at Night
It’s best to do the bulk of your driving during the day simply because the increased light means there are fewer potential hazards. If you do happen to drive in the dark, remember to dim your bright lights for oncoming traffic and to keep a larger following distance. In the dark you also need to be extra cautious when approaching intersections.
Driving in Extreme Weather Conditions
Extreme weather conditions can make an ordinary road unsafe and increase the risk of a collision. If you get caught in fog, rain, snow, strong wind or flooding you need to adjust your speed accordingly, keep a bigger following distance and (depending on visibility) switch your headlights or fog lights on. If a road is flooded is essential to ensure that the water doesn’t reach the undercarriage of your car. If the water is too deep for your car, you could get swept away.
Getting to your holiday destination need not be daunting. If you abide by the rules of the road, bear in mind these road safety tips and you are cautious and courteous, you are far more likely to arrive safely and enjoy your trip. Anything less just wouldn’t be worth the long drive!