6 must-do's for safe holiday driving

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 DAD MIGHT BE DRIVING BUT... on a long journey help him to stay alert by not falling asleep yourselves. Image: SHUTTERSTOCK ~ Shutterstock
December is a joyous time of year, a time to celebrate the successes or put to rest the disappointments of the past year and to unwind and recharge for the year ahead.

It’s also when people take to the roads en masse to visit family, go on holiday, get away from it all. So, with all this extra volume on the roads, Tiger Wheel & Tyre is cautioning drivers to "take it easy out there" and to follow some basic guidelines to stay safe on our busy roads:

Here are Tiger Wheel & Tyre’s Top 6 guidelines for your road safety which, unsurprisingly, involve your tyres to some extent...

1.    Manners matter
Indicate early, drive smoothly, overtake only when it’s safe to do so, brake early and show gratitude to courteous drivers - while resisting the urge to run discourteous drivers off the road and teach them manners. Leave that middle finger folded.

2.    Stay alert and awake
Don’t get behind the wheel if you’re drowsy. Leaving at 3am to avoid traffic may seem like a good idea but if you’ve had insufficient sleep and your passengers are dozing instead of interacting with and helping you to stay awake, it could be the death of you.

3.    Keep your distance
Always maintain at least a three-second gap from the car ahead. Of course a following distance is often mistaken for a gap by other drivers. If somebody pushes in just take a deep breath and fall back another three seconds. Getting annoyed won’t help, getting out of danger will. If it’s raining or dark outside, double the gap to six seconds.

4.    Anticipate and compensate
Yes, there are many incompetent drivers out there. You can’t change that but you can minimise their effect on you by anticipating their next move. If somebody shows a penchant for weaving between vehicles simply fall back and let the moving missile get out of your driving space.

Also, don’t rely on the car ahead of you for all your driving cues. Look to see what cars further ahead are doing. If they’re braking already, so should you - but gently, now, because you've given yourself time and space.

5.    Enjoy the journey
Instead of trying to set a land-speed record, stop every two hours to stretch your legs. If you’re travelling with passengers, especially with small children, plan frequent stops for everyone to get some air, enjoy the scenery and to work off steam. It may take longer to get there but when you do you’ll be relaxed and ready to roll!

6.    Tick the checklist
Finally, before you start your journey, make sure that your car’s fluids are all topped up; all hoses and belts are intact and properly attached; and that your tyres (including the one on the spare wheel) are in good shape and inflated to the correct pressures.

Not sure about the state of your tyres? If you have any doubt whatsoever then pop in to any Tiger Wheel & Tyre branch countrywide where their experienced staff will gladly do a free tyre safety check to give you peace of mind before you hit the road.

Apart from being serious about your road safety this festive season, Tiger Wheel & Tyre is also serious about tyres, serious about wheels, serious about batteries, serious about service and serious about savings. Right up until January 11 2014 every store will be offering top-quality wheels, tyres and batteries from the world’s best-known brands at prices that are seriously worth celebrating.

Check out our website for current promotions and deals and use the site’s handy store locator to find the Tiger Wheel & Tyre store nearest to you.