10 tips for being safe on the road
2. Check your shocks, brakes and tires
Avoid surprises by regularly monitoring the health of these vital systems in your vehicle.
- If you notice a noise when you brake or a subtle difference in braking performance, it’s time to get a brake check as soon as possible.
- Ensure you have enough traction to grip the road by regularly checking the tread depth of your tires. Use a tire pressure gauge to make sure they are properly inflated.
- Your shock absorbers may be broken if you have trouble getting around corners.
3. Understand the signals on your dashboard
Car dashboards have up to 64 different symbols to let you know when something is wrong. You’re not alone if you don’t know what they all mean.
- Flick through your car’s manual to familiarise yourself with the various symbols to make sure you know what your car is trying to tell you.
4. Develop a sense of smell about your car
Car smells inevitably mean trouble, but what kind of trouble?
- Burnt carpet? Check if your handbrake has been left on, or the brake pads are overheated.
- Hot oil? Look out for overflow from a recent oil change.
- Rotten eggs? The catalytic converter may be faulty, which could be affecting your car’s engine.
5. Stay alert, avoid distractions
Being on the road presents many distractions. It is important that you maintain concentration throughout.
- Take regular breaks to check messages or make calls.
- Watch your speedometer, look out for road signs, and stay focused.
- Pull your vehicle over every now and again to stretch your arms and legs.
6. Replace damaged windshields
Chipped or cracked windshields can strike at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. If visibility is affected as a result,
- Find the nearest and safest place to stop.
- Set up an appointment with your nearest mobile repair service or call your local emergency hotline.
7. Stay aware of your surroundings
Pay attention to what’s around your car, not just the vehicle itself.
- Keep a buffer between yourself and other vehicles.
- Don’t respond, if you’re tailgated by a reckless driver.
- Monitor your blind spots and stay out of others' blind spots.
- Adjust your speed for rainy conditions.
9. Know what to do when your car breaks down
Follow these steps after pulling over into the road shoulder.
- Immediately turn on the vehicle's hazard lights.
- Call for help using your cell phone or a highway emergency call box.
- If you are carrying safety triangles or lights, only set them up 20 meters behind your vehicle when you are sure it is safe to do so.
10. And finally… be your own best safety feature
Don’t rely on your vehicle safety features to protect yourself and your family.
- There is no substitute for basic driving safety.
Remember: if something doesn’t smell, sound, or feel right, seek advice from your mechanic or call your local emergency hotline, as soon as possible. Whatever happens, always keep calm and take note of your surroundings.