The Easter holidays are next week and many South Africans will be taking to the roads. This time has a higher accident level so here are some safety tips!
South Africa – As many South Africans prepare to drive away for Easter holidays, the South African Tyre Manufacturing Conference (SATMC) is urging drivers to conduct a pre-holiday check before departure.
“The holidays are approaching, and with that comes an increased incidence of road accidents, a great percentage of which are caused by worn tyres,” said Carlo Baldocchi, Tyre Sector Manager at SATMC.
“With all new passenger vehicle tyres being fitted with tread wear indicators (TWI), moulded into the tyre’s tread grooves, checking your own tyres has never been easier. This Easter, we urge drivers to check their tyre tread wear and four other vital tyre safety elements before they leave on a long journey. This will give them peace of mind about their own safety, as well as that of their passengers, other motorists and pedestrians using the road,” he continues.
Here below is Baldocchi’s advice for hitting the road safely:
1. Check your route
Before your trip, become familiar with the route you are travelling. Navigation apps and tools have been developed to make this process easier, but they are not always reliable. It is also best to ensure that you are travelling through the safest possible area. Take note that apps like ‘Google Maps’ and ‘Waze’ often prioritise shorter routes, no matter the state of roads or safety of the surrounding areas.
2. Check engine fluids
Water and oil checks are often offered by petrol station attendants but skipped in the rush of everyday life. Next time you visit the petrol station, be sure to accept the oil check. Not only does this ensure a smoother ride and minimise the risk of breakdown, but low levels may indicate a leak which is a much more serious problem requiring immediate attention.
Make sure to check your vehicle’s brake fluid too. If this level is too low, your car is not safe to drive.
3. Check your tyres
With the introduction of the Tread Wear Indicator (TWI) in all South African Passenger Vehicle Tyres, tyre tread depth is an easy inspection that can be performed by anyone.
Once these rubber inserts are level with the tyre tread, tyres are no longer safe to drive on.
Remember to check the TWI across the entire width of the tyre, as the outer tread may be deeper than the inner. Any uneven tread wear could indicate poor wheel alignment which should be addressed by a professional.
Be sure also to check tyre pressures and adjust for heavy loads – but never to more than the recommended manufacturer specifications. It’s also a good idea to check your spare wheel’s pressure and tread while you’re at it.
4. Ensure you have basic tools in case of emergency
While proper preparation can minimise your risk of mechanical troubles during your journey, various roadside emergencies can still happen at any time. Do not be left unprepared for any eventuality.
Here is a checklist of the basic items every car should always have in case of emergency:
- Car phone charger,
- First-aid kit,
- Fire extinguisher,
- Hazard triangle,
- Spare tyre,
- Tyre jack and lug wrench,
- Tow rope,
- Jumper cables and
- A flashlight.
5. Make sure you’ve saved important emergency numbers
There are many services and people who can help, should you be in an emergency. Make sure that you have saved all the relevant numbers for the following service providers below:
- Ambulance service,
- Towing service,
- Medical Aid,
- Road Side Assistance and
All emergency contacts should be saved onto your phone with the acronym ICE (In Case of Emergency) preceding their name.
“If every driver does this simple check this Easter, together we can make our roads a much safer and a less risky place for all travellers,” Baldocchi concludes.