Stay safe on the roads this holiday season

Road trip Easter Safety tips 3 min read 10 June 2024

Ensure you're covered with Santam

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Most of us look forward to the holiday seasons as an opportunity to enjoy time with loved ones in distant locations, or just to experience a visit to one of our country’s beautiful destination spots. For many of us these journeys require a road trip, which can be fun, offering unforgettable experiences, and take us to places we may never have been. However, amidst the festivities, it's crucial to prioritise safety on the roads, as this time of year is unfortunately associated with an increase in car accidents and fatalities.

 

The driving conditions on the roads during holiday seasons are fraught with challenges: poor condition of the roads; increased traffic; congestion; mechanical failure; tiredness, fatigued and impatient drivers; unfamiliar environments; inclement weather; the list is endless. This demands extra caution, so it is important to ensure you protect your loved ones on the journey allowing you to enjoy the holidays with less or no stress.

 

Before hitting the road:

 

  • Plan your route, rest stops, and departure time carefully, aiming to travel during non-peak hours.
  • Also note if any roadworks could possibly be in progress or planned along your route.
  • Ensure all necessary documentation, such as licenses, insurance, and vehicle registration, is up to date.
  • Don’t forget to check your logbook for date of next service.
  • A car or booster seat for children should be secure and in working condition, as should all seatbelts.
  • Complete a pre-holiday mechanical check. This should include checking of all tyres including the spare, jack, and wheel nut sprocket; oil and coolant; windscreen and wipers; electrical components such as lights and indicators, GPS, air-conditioning, radio (for road traffic alerts); the battery and its terminals, and jumper cables. Ideally it is advised to have the car serviced before departure.
  • Pack an emergency/first aid kit – this should include disposable gloves.
  • Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged with both data and calling capabilities.
  • If towing a trailer or caravan, check all connections and tie-downs for security.
  • Plan not to overload the vehicle, ideally keeping all luggage in the boot. This may mean restricting your passengers to a limited number of bags.

 

During the journey:

 

  • Be a defensive driver. Keep a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you; be alert to what is happening behind you; watch for rocks, potholes, and other obstacles on the road; be alert to pedestrians and wildlife crossings; adjust driving speed to traffic signs and weather conditions; obey all the rules of the road.
  • Ignore distractions. Children can be boisterous, and more so when restricted in a car. Do not allow their excitement or demands for attention to distract you. Ensure you have supplied them with entertainment and snacks/beverages.
  • Take breaks. It is recommended to stop your vehicle every two hours at a safety point and exit the vehicle, take a non-alcoholic refreshment, and stretch your legs and arms. Not doing so will increase the chances of fatigue or road-blindness.
  • Follow your route plan if not otherwise directed by an official. Leaving the route into unfamiliar territory, especially rural roads, may expose you to hazards such as potholes, dirt roads, wildlife crossings, and tight/narrow shoulders.
  • Seatbelts need to be worn by every person in the car. Do not start the car unless everyone is buckled in.
  • Exercise patience. Congestion and traffic jams can be frustrating, as can slower drivers. Do not be provoked by other driver’s aggressive behaviour or driving style. If you feel uncomfortable behind a poor driver, find a safe time to overtake or wait for an overtaking lane, or put some distance between your vehicles.
  • Never drive drunk, or drink alcohol while driving. This can create a dangerous situation as senses become dulled, and normal reaction times slowed. There is an increased chance of falling asleep behind the wheel. This may also influence the outcome of a claim in the event of an accident while driving under the influence.
  • Mobile phones can be a distraction. Put them away until you stop, and even if connected to an in-built GPS, use them only if necessary.

 

SOS and Roadside assistance

 

In case of an emergency, Santam offers a 24/7 Emergency Hotline 0860 505 911, or you can easily access our emergency services through our client app. SOS services are available all our policyholders at no additional cost. 

 

  • Mechanical/electrical breakdown assistance.
  • Jump-start of your vehicle.
  • Assistance when your keys are locked inside your vehicle.
  • Roadside tyre changes.
  • 10 litres of fuel if you run out.
  • Directions and detailed map information on call.
  • Dispatch of emergency medical services for life-saving assistance.
  • Emergency transportation by air or road ambulance.
  • Children transported to a place of safety if required.
  • Doctor and medical facility referrals.
  • Unlimited telephonic trauma counselling.

 

Santam wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!