Holiday seasons are generally the busiest time on the roads and, considering the escalation of fatal vehicle collisions during these times, it is imperative that you take preventative measures to ensure your own and your passengers' safety, especially when going on an extended road trip.
To ensure you get to your destinations safely here are a few tips:
- Prepare your vehicle – be sure to have the vehicle you intend to travel with properly serviced
- Prepare yourself – rest well before a long drive, avoid fatigue on the road by taking regular brakes and know your route. Signs of driver fatigue include yawning, poor concentration, over steering, drowsiness, slow reactions, tired eyes, sweaty hands and restlessness
- Be sure your passengers, whether children or animals, are securely seated and restrained
- Check that your roadside emergency kit is well stocked as even a well-maintained vehicle can break down. Items such as a cell phone, first aid kit, flashlight, flares and white flag, jumper cables, jack, basic repair tools and duct tape, jug of water and paper towels, nonperishable food, drinking water and medicines, extra windshield washer fluid and maps should be on your checklist
- Be sure your driver's license and vehicle registration is in order
- Ensure your luggage is packed away securely and that nothing obstructs the view from your rear view mirror
- Wear your safety belt at all times and insist that your passengers wear theirs
- If towing a trailer or caravan, check the tire condition, make sure your tow bar and towing equipment is secure, ensure all electrical connections and lights are functioning, the rearview mirrors are adjusted correctly and double check that the trailer brakes work correctly.
- Do not exceed the speed limit. Not only do you endanger your own life, those of your passengers and the lives of others using the same road, but the holiday season is prime time for traffic policing and a fine or even incarceration will do nothing to improve your holiday spirit
- Maintain a safe following distance at all times. Allow for at least a three second gap between you and the vehicle in front of you, and increase the distance to six seconds in bad weather conditions
- Be aware of emergency vehicles – pull over or change lanes for them to pass safely
- Never drink and drive
- Pay attention to changing weather conditions as it will affect the road surface. Be sure to slow down if the road is wet or covered in debris
- Make early decisions on accelerating and braking and signal your intentions clearly and timeously when changing lanes or pulling over to the side of the road. Indicate at least 30 meters before changing lanes to ensure other vehicles take note
- Expect the unexpected and beware of road rage – your own and that of other motorists. Think about how you would react in a variety of unfavourable situations and remember to stay calm
- Driving at night requires more concentration and skill than driving at daytime as vision is restricted. Oncoming headlights can obscure your vision and therefore you should maintain a longer following distance
- Avoid using your cell phone when driving; have a hands-free kit available if the call is unavoidable.
Be aware and take care
If you are in the unfortunate position of being involved in a collision, practise accident awareness.
- Check that your passengers and the passengers in the vehicle involved in the collision are not injured and phone for help if someone is seriously hurt
- If the vehicles can be driven, move them off to the side of the road, turn on the hazard lights and be watchful of oncoming traffic which might not see you.
One tends to be in a rush when embarking on a holiday journey, be it from excitement or a time limit to get to your destination. Remember that you as the driver hold the lives of others in your hands. Act accordingly, be courteous and patient of other drivers and get to your destination safely.
Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to know more about road safety tips. Call us on the EWP number or email us at