With schools finished and closed for this quarter and some people off work, the holiday season is officially here and people are embarking on road trips to different parts of the country.
While everyone will be eager to get to various holiday destinations, the focus needs to be on getting there safely so that we can enjoy making unforgettable memories.
By taking safety precautions on the road, motorists can reduce risks and take care of ourselves and loved ones.
Check your car
Get the car serviced with a safety check before your trip so that you know everything is in order, ensuring that all the tyres (including the spare tyre) are in good condition. Additionally, check the wipers, engine reliability and suspension, and avoid overloading the vehicle as this can impact on your ability to control the car on the road.
While speed may decrease the amount of time spent on the road, it is not worth the risk. According to the WHO, an increase in average speed is directly related both to the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of the consequences of the crash.
It’s a long journey. You’re tired. These are all ingredients for losing your cool. Plan ahead mentally to be tolerant of slow or rude drivers.
Expect the unexpected
Other drivers are going to take unnecessary risks. Take extra care and be vigilant on blind rises in case an oncoming car is carelessly overtaking at this point in the road. Assume that drivers may not stop at red robots, obey stop signs and give your car space where lane merge.
Avoid distracted driving
Focusing 100% on the road is vital to decrease the risk of a crash. Distractions include eating, talking, adjusting the radio or looking at the navigation system. However, according to the WHO, drivers using mobile phones are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers without a cell phone.
Usage impacts on a driver’s reaction time to breaking and responding to traffic signals. It exacerbates veering out of your lane and take focus off the correct following distances. Ironically hands-free phones are not much safer than their hand-held counterparts.
Think safety first
Increase your vehicle’s visibility by keeping the headlights on when travelling during the day.
Keep the 3- to 4-second rule for following distance in good weather conditions. However, add an additional second where conditions hamper visibility such as rain, fog, after sunset or if you are behind a truck or motorcycle.
While the holiday season is a time of much joy, it is also a time where accidents are intensified due to the amount of traffic on the road.
By increasing awareness and committing to safe, proactive driving practices, every motorist can make a difference.