JOHANNESBURG - The holiday season is upon us and and as schools and businesses close, many people are preparing to embark on road trips to visit loved ones, explore new destinations or simply enjoy a well-deserved vacation.
It is, however, crucial to prioritise road safety during this busy period.
By following these essential road safety tips, you can protect yourself, your passengers and others on the road.
1. Plan and prepare
Before hitting the road, plan your route, check weather conditions and ensure that your vehicle is in optimal condition. Regularly inspect tires, brakes, lights, and fluid levels. Carry a spare tire, necessary tools and an emergency kit containing a first aid box, flashlight and reflective warning signs.
2. Buckle up
Seat belts save lives, so ensure that all passengers -- including children -- are properly restrained. Use appropriate child safety seats or booster seats according to age and size. Avoid overcrowding the vehicle as it can compromise everyone's safety.
3. Observe the speed limit
Respect speed limits and adjust your driving speed according to road conditions. Remember, speed limits are set for optimal safety. Avoid aggressive driving behaviours such as sudden lane changes, or excessive speeding.
4. Stay focused and avoid distractions
Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. Keep your attention on the road and avoid distractions like texting, talking on the phone or even eating while driving. If necessary, use hands-free devices for communication.
5. Take regular breaks
Long journeys can be tiring, leading to fatigue and decreased concentration. Take regular breaks every two hours or when feeling drowsy. Stretch your legs, get some fresh air and stay hydrated. If possible, share driving responsibilities with a fellow passenger.
6. Be mindful of weather conditions
December weather can be unpredictable. Stay informed about weather forecasts and adjust your driving accordingly. Slow down during rain or other adverse weather conditions. Use headlights and fog lights when necessary, and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
7. Follow traffic rules
Adhere to traffic rules, signals and signs at all times. Stop at red lights, yield when required, and use indicators for lane changes or turns. Be courteous to other drivers and pedestrians, allowing them safe passage.
8. Stay calm and patient
Traffic congestion is common during the holiday season. Stay calm, be patient and avoid aggressive behaviours. Road rage can lead to accidents and unnecessary confrontations. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and avoid unnecessary overtaking.