Planning an SA road trip? 20 vehicle checks you must do!

JANINE VAN DER POST
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Image: News24 News24

Cape Town - There's nothing quite as exciting as getting ready for a well-deserved holiday with your loved ones during the holidays.

You've checked your luggage, booked the hotel or beach house but sometimes the most critical item is often overlooked until the last minute - your car!

Top car checks

Masterdrive's MD Eugene Herbert shares some important vehicle checks one should perform before embarking on a road trip.

Wheels24: "What are some of the things drivers neglect to check before embarking on a long journey?

Herbert said: ”It’s not about what you don’t do but what you should. There are some things we’d like to encourage drivers to check.  

"The vehicle check we should do to ensure the vehicle can take us from destination A to destination B. We want to ensure the drive itself is safe, and then how we keep the occupants safe - in particular young ones. And if you can do those three things we guarantee u will arrive safely and enjoy your holiday and have the right mindset to return safely.

READ: New car licence rules for SA: This might irk you...

Herbet says: "If you own an older vehicle, ensure your oil levels are correct, your windscreen washer - because inevitably you’re going to drive behind a truck or something is going to throw up some dirt and you put the washers on and you land up with a smudged screen. So ensure your water level is topped up. 

WATCH: Top 5 defensive driving tips for SA

Here are some more holiday tips from MasterDrive:

  • Have your car serviced and given a proper safety check up
  • Map out your trip – make sure you allow plenty of time to get to your destination, including rest stops
  • Take regular breaks (at least one every two hours) and pull over for a power nap as soon you feel tired or fatigued.
  • Share the driving if possible
  • Never drink alcohol, not even small amounts, before or during a long trip
  • Have a few good nights' sleep before heading off
  • Stay within the speed limit and always choose an appropriate speed for the driving conditions – whether city, country or night time driving
  • Make sure all passengers wear appropriate seatbelts or child restraints - including pets
  • Make sure all luggage is properly secured and won't become projectiles in the case of sudden braking.
  • Avoid distractions – don't use mobile phones and keep young passengers occupied with games for children when driving.
  • If driving refrain from  using your cell phone – even if it is hands free – as it is a distraction
  • Keep an adequate following distance – 3 to 4 seconds behind the vehicle in front
  • Careful if pulling over into the emergency lane ( yellow lane) as it would be unsafe to do so before cresting a rise
  • Give trucks  plenty of room – remember they take longer to stop than a car
  • Be patient – enjoy the drive
  • Keep your headlights on for entire trip – see and be seen.

Watch the video below for interior checks and safety tips:


What to check?

"Take the long walk around the car and go to the opposite side of the vehicle", says Herbert. "On my approach to the vehicle I would have checked underneath to ensure there are no hazards. I do a quick walk-around 10-15 seconds that enables me to check my tyres are ok; the licence disc is valid so I don’t get pulled over; the left rear tyre is suited, windscreen washer for the rear is working; the right rear and the front tyre is in good position.  

"A good measure is to check that you have a spare wheel and that it is in place and that its correctly inflated.

For loads more info from MasterDriver, visit their website.

More road trip advice:

WATCH: Top 5 defensive driving tips for SA
What you need to know to jump start your car
8 driving tips for SA's dangerous mountains

Win with General Tire: #SARoadTrip