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Safe Driving Tips for the Festive Season

It’s official, the festive season is here! December is all about year-end functions, quality time with family and friends, beach days, and Christmas celebrations. Although it is a joyful time, it is also a time when the roads are extra dangerous.

Here are some safe driving tips for the festive season:

1. Plan your route

Before you set off on your journey, plan the route that you are going to take. Also, be aware of any weather or traffic conditions that may affect your journey.

If possible, plan a backup route too.

2. Always wear your seatbelt

The law requires the driver and each passenger to wear seatbelts. If you are the driver, remember that it is your responsibility to make sure that your passengers wear seatbelts.

3. Don’t drink and drive

In South Africa, you may not drive if your blood alcohol level is or exceeds 0,05 g per 100 mm.  This equates to having a breath alcohol concentration level of fewer than 0,24 mg per 1 000 mm. In other words, your average person may not consume more than 1 unit of alcohol per hour.

So, if you intend to drink more than that, rather let someone else drive or take an Uber.

4. Make sure that the roadblock is legitimate

Remember that you have the right to ask the traffic officer for his or her certificate of appointment at a roadblock.

“You are entitled to ask the officer for his or her certificate of appointment
containing the details of the officer in terms of Section 334 (2) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (the “CPA”),” attorney James Gallow explains.

You also have the right to ask the purpose of the roadblock.

5. Don’t use your cell phone while driving

Not only is it distracting, it is also illegal. If an officer catches you with your cell phone, it will be confiscated.

6. Make sure your car is roadworthy before departure

Service your car if possible, otherwise just check the basics such as tyres, lights, brakes, etc. Rather practise preventative maintenance than waiting for your car to break down.

Also, ensure that your trailer or caravan is roadworthy because it has probably been standing in the garage for quite some time.

7. Keep the essentials in your vehicle

The following list of items can be lifesavers in an emergency:

  • Tyre gauge (to measure the pressure of your tyres)
  • Spare tyre
  • Jack
  • Motor oil 
  • Jump leads
  • Torch
  • Roadside flares
  • Bottles of water
  • First aid kit

8. Don’t drive when you are feeling drowsy

When driving, it is super important to be vigilant. In order to stay awake and alert, get a good night’s sleep before your journey, take a 15-minute break every two hours, and keep your car well ventilated.

For more driving tips, check out these articles:

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