With the school holidays here, and Easter weekend upon us, drivers are being cautioned to take extra care on the roads.
“This is usually a very busy time for South African road users as families go on holiday or visit loved ones. There is the added danger of driving in peak holiday season traffic. Motorists are advised to keep basic preparation, safety, precaution and insurance in mind,” says Lizo Mnguni, spokesperson for Old Mutual Insure.
He adds that there are plenty of public holidays coming up, giving South African motorists opportunity to get out. But, before embarking on a long trip, holiday makers should be sure that the vehicle they are travelling in has been properly maintained.
“Ideally, always plan a service ahead of a long trip. Failing a full service, at least check tyres, oil, battery, and fuel before setting off,” advises Mnguni.
He says vehicle owners should check that their policies have basic roadside and other emergency assistance. Breaking down or being involved in an accident in the middle of nowhere “where you don’t know who to trust or which service or emergency providers to use can be confusing and traumatic – and people can make unnecessary mistakes,” says Mnguni. Being able to call on a trusted insurance advisor to “guide you to the right service providers and emergency services – at the right price – in these instances is critical,” advises Mnguni.
He says it is also important to remember that fatigue and speed kills.
“Take a break from driving every two hours. Stop at a petrol station and stretch your legs before getting on your way. Pack a few snacks and energy drinks for your trip.”
Mnguni adds that vehicle and road safety remain a top priority for Old Mutual Insure.
“One of the reasons we sponsor initiatives like the South African Car of the Year (COTY) competition is because we believe that innovation with regards to vehicle safety will likely lead to less vehicle accidents, high-jackings and theft, indirectly benefitting all road users,” says Mnguni.
To this end, Old Mutual Insure is calling on all road users to join its mission to make South Africa’s vehicles and roads safer, by pledging a commitment to road safety and commenting on the social media pages on how they will keep themselves and others from harm. As part of this initiative, Old Mutual Insure will donate to the Road Ethics Project, an organisation that educates people about ethical road use to reduce crashes and save lives.
To further help road users, below Mnguni gives his top tips on how to stay safe on the roads this Easter holiday:
- Pledge your commitment to road safety by sharing how you commit to keeping you and your loved ones safe when driving on the road. Will you commit to hands-free calling? Ensure everyone wears their seatbelt?
- Get a good night sleep before you leave on your trip so that you are well-rested for the road ahead.
- Take a break from your trip at least every 2 hours. Stop at a petrol station and stretch your legs before getting on your way.
- Pack in a few snacks and energy drinks for the trip.
- Don’t use your cell phone or do anything that may distract you while travelling. Be alert and aware while driving. Guard against distractions while driving, and always ensure all vehicle occupants wear a seat belt.
- Take your vehicle for a full check before embarking on your holiday travels.
- Make sure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before departure.
- Obey the speed limit – Speed is the highest contributing factor in fatal accidents. You can make a difference on the roads by simply driving at the speed limit. Consider this – it’s better to arrive at your destination safely than quickly.
“Getting the basics of preparation, safety, precaution and your insurance right this Easter break can make the difference between a well-earned rest or costly and stressful ordeal,” concludes Mnguni.
Commit to keep yourself and others safe by making a pledge on the Old Mutual Insure pages on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn by using the hashtags #roadsafetypledge and #SACOTY2023.