A safe road trip starts long before you hit the road

As would be expected, thousands of people are preparing to travel to family and friends during the upcoming long weekends and public holidays.

Richard Green, National Director of SAMBRA (the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says motorists must expect the unexpected on our roads and be prepared for an emergency.

“Road trips should be fun and memorable. The reality, however, is that the road death toll increases at this time of the year,” he says. It is therefore important that we all take the responsibility of ensuring our vehicles are in good, roadworthy condition before hitting the road.

SAMBRA’s 15-point road trip check list to stay safe (and have fun):

  1. Plan your trip. Do pre-route checks and be aware of the weather on your route. If you can make a stopover, do so.
  2. Save all the necessary emergency numbers into one or more cellphones- your insurance company (for roadside, medical and other assistance), family or friends on standby in case of an emergency, your family doctor and the national 10111 police emergency number.
  3. Have copies of IDs, driver’s licences, medical aid cards and Covid-19 vaccination certificates with you, as well as the blood type of everyone in the family.
  4. Have your car serviced. Many workshops offer free pre-holiday checks. You should at least have the tyres, brakes, battery and fluid levels checked. Do not ignore any issues the workshop technician may pick up as this could see you stranded in the middle of nowhere. (Read below to find out more about a Service Plan through MotorHappy.)
  5. Check you have the mandatory emergency triangle in your boot, a jack, a good spare tyre and a well-stocked basic first-aid kit.
  6. Pack extra supplies, like water, healthy snacks and a few light blankets, in case you must wait on the side of the road for assistance. An extra mobile phone with a full battery is also always a good idea in the first-aid kit.
  7. Get at least two good nights’ rest before your trip. It is best to leave after a good rest not after a long day at work. Experts say you should avoid leaving between 1pm and 3pm when the body’s temperature is lower, and people are naturally drowsy.

  1. Always use your handsfree kit for calls.
  2. Make use of your GPS – even if you know where you are going. These devices provide a lot of extra information for a safer trip.
  3. Stop to stretch your legs every two hours. Take at least a 20-minute comfort break.
  4. Tune into the local radio stations in the area to be aware of any traffic issues ahead.
  5. Stick to the speed limit and other road rules.
  6. Keep passengers entertained and pets contained.
  7. Keep in touch with family or friends.
  8. Don’t take a chance when your fuel is low, rather fill up when you can.

A Service Plan through MotorHappy

Car servicing can be expensive but when you invest in a Service Plan through MotorHappy you can better budget for this necessary expense with fixed, affordably monthly instalments.

A Service Plan through MotorHappy usually comes with additional benefits such as roadside assistance, towing, and car hire or overnight accommodation if your car breaks down on your journey. Click here to get a quick, obligation-free quote.

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