Thousands of South Africans will hit the roads this December season. While taking a road-trip to a seaside town to celebrate is great, this is also the most dangerous time on the country’s roads.
For the 2017/18 festive season, the road death toll was 1,527.
In addition to being aware of drinking and driving and speeding, there are other measures you can take to ensure a safe trip.
This includes looking at particular aspects of a car that are critical to safe driving, such as the state of windscreens and elements in contact with the road – like suspension, steering and brakes.
Autoboys has outlined a few things you need to be aware of to ensure a safer trip this December.
Arrive Alive recognises that a car’s windscreen is an “important component in vehicle safety”. Over time, small stones or cracks may have occurred along the surface of your windscreen.
A cracked windscreen is not only a hindrance to your ability to see what’s going on around you, but it can also become a danger to you during front-end collisions or rollovers. This is because a windshield forms part of the structure that holds your car together.
In addition, your windscreen is critical to providing support to your airbag. So, make sure that your windscreen is in top shape.
The suspension on a vehicle relates to shock absorbers, and when these are worn, your tyres can start bouncing along the road while driving.
When a wheel is bouncing, there’s no positive contact to the road surface. As a result, your braking and stability are affected, especially in wet weather conditions and during emergency stops.
The risk here is that your vehicle may go into an uncontrollable slide.
Control arms, lateral links
Any issues with your car’s control arms or lateral links will mean that you don’t have adequate control.
This can be especially dangerous when it comes to harsh braking in wet conditions or where there is lots of sand or pebbles. It’s critical to ensure that these are in full working condition.
Braking system and tyres
Lastly, it’s imperative that your car is able to stay on the road surface with tyres that are in good condition and a fully functioning braking system.
When it comes to tyres, check that your tread is the right depth – the law states this needs to be at least 1.6mm. Also, be sure to check for any radial cracks as these could cause blowouts while driving.
Make sure you have a fully functioning braking system that includes sufficient brake pad thickness, and brake discs that are not adversely worn. This latter issue, in particular, can cause brake fade which is when the brakes overheat so much that they become ineffective.