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With the holidays upon us, many families will be taking to the open road to reach the location for their much-needed rest and relaxation. Tracker provides the following tips to ensure motorists get to their destination safely:

  • Pre-trip check – Ensure your vehicle is fit for the trip. Fill up with fuel; check the tyre pressure and tread – don’t forget the spare wheel; check the oil, water and brake fluid levels; test the headlights, rear lights, indicators, fog lights and brakes; and ensure the wipers are not perished or broken. Check that the license disk is valid, and that the emergency triangle, jack and socket wrench are in the vehicle.

  • Plan ahead – Make sure you have the correct directions to your destination before you leave, to avoid getting lost, but also to plan your journey in advance. Check for road maintenance or obstructions along your route, using for example the AA road conditions and distance calculator, and allow for ample travel time including sufficient rest stops. Remember that the weather can also affect road conditions and travel time. Pack plenty of “padkos” and drinks, and don’t forget essential items like your driver’s license.

  • Stay alert – Before you begin your journey make sure you get enough sleep. Take healthy snacks along for the trip and stay hydrated. If there is more than one driver in the vehicle, take turns driving. If fatigue is taking over, take a break from driving. It is recommended that drivers take a 15-minute break very two hours. When stopping, get out of the vehicle and stretch to get the blood flowing. Staying alert and being vigilant of what is going on around you while you are driving could also help you prevent an accident or hijacking.

  • Safe driving – Accidents are mainly caused by human error as a result of reckless or impaired driving. Drive defensively to ensure you reach your destination safely. In other words, drive with the sole intention of avoiding a collision. This means adhering to the speed limit, practicing courteous road use, avoiding distractions such as using your mobile phone, and not driving while impaired whether due to tiredness, alcohol or medication. Don’t overtake on blind rises or by road crossings and turns. Use the solid white line to guide you, it indicates that road conditions are not safe for you to overtake. Avoid driving over foreign or suspicious looking objects, rocks or packets as these could damage your vehicle, leading to a breakdown.

  • Safe stopping – Be wary of stopping on the side of the road, even in designated stopping zones such as roadside picnic areas. Rather stop at service stations to recharge. If you are stopping on the side of the road to admire the view, make sure your vehicle is parked safely off the road and remain vigilant while you are stopped. If you exit your vehicle, close the windows and lock the doors, even if you will only be a few metres away. Also, your vehicle might be too full to even consider it, but heed the warning and don’t pick up hitchhikers. It might seem like a nice gesture, but you could be putting your safety at risk.

  • SOS – Have a plan in case of an emergency and pack a first aid kit. Ensure that you have all important and emergency contact numbers with you. Make sure you have an emergency contact number of someone not travelling with you available to first responders. Remember, most modern phones need to be unlocked for use, so having your ICE contact on your phone isn’t helpful. It might be better to write this down on a piece of paper and store it in your glove compartment. Also, let someone close to you know of your movements and your anticipated arrival time, so that they can alert the authorities if you don’t check in. Some tracking services have apps that you can use to share your location with such a person. In the event of a breakdown, call for road side assistance immediately. Do not accept help from strangers. If it is safe to do so, for instance your vehicle is safely on the side of the road, stay inside and keep all your doors locked and your windows closed.

  • Testing, testing – Test your tracking device to make sure it’s working, including the assist button if your device has one. If you’re subscribed to a roadside and medical assistance service, it will be reassuring to know that help will be immediately available in the moment of need.

“Remember, the journey can be as much fun as the holiday itself,” says Michael du Preez, Product and Marketing Executive at Tracker. “You’re on vacation, so relax, drive responsibly and enjoy the ride. Tracker wishes you and your loved ones safe travels and a peaceful and relaxing festive season.”