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Prepare and protect yourself on the roads this Easter

05 April 2012 Santam

One million people are expected to make the annual Easter pilgrimage to the headquarters of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) in Limpopo this weekend. Roads leading from Gauteng to Boyne, Limpopo are expected to experience heavy traffic volumes and this is

The long April weekend is recognised by all South Africans as a well-deserved break, an opportunity for much needed rest, and extra time to spend with friends and family. However, the extra congestion is also recognised as a time of increased risk to all road users, each driver being expected to look after themselves while also watching out for others on the road.

“Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility and it is imperative that the necessary precautions are taken to mitigate the likelihood of having an accident. By following a few common sense guidelines we can manage the risk associated with the additional road users over holiday periods,” says Shehnaz Somers, head of personal lines underwriting at Santam.

A conscientious driver has control over only some factors on the road while no control at all over others, for example, whether another road user has been drinking. However, both factors may ultimately have an effect on the driver, from driving up premiums if he is involved in an accident to possible injury. For this reason it is important that each driver takes the dangers seriously and manage them accordingly.

Whether taking some time to get out of the city, visiting relatives, or just hopping in the car for quick shopping trip, Santam offers the following advice to help to keep you safe, and save money in lower premiums and fuel consumption, while on the roads this holiday weekend.

Before your trip:

· Plan your trips in advance. This allows you time to decide which roads to use and can help you avoid poor weather and high accident zones.

· Have your car serviced by a qualified service mechanic.

· Make sure your windscreen is undamaged; this includes cracks that can obstruct your view.

· Check to make sure your wiper blades are fully functional. If worn out, replace them before you travel.

· Check the quality of your tyres. Worn out tyre treads can reduce braking time; especially on a wet surface.

· Make sure your headlights work properly and offer good visibility.

· Enrol in a certified advanced driving course which can make you a more efficient driver, reduce the likelihood of an accident, and decrease monthly premiums.

On the road you should:

· Always wear a safety belt.

· Never disobey the speed limit – driving too fast or too slowly can be a potential hazard.

· Keep a safe following distance, this will give you enough time to react in case of an emergency.

· Always check your blind spot before changing lanes, even when driving on a road that seems deserted.

· When approaching a railway crossing, always slow down and proceed only when it is safe to do so.

· Some medication may have side-effects, before undertaking a journey consult your doctor to find out about possible side-effects.

· Stay alert and keep an eye on what is happening around you.

Things to avoid while driving:

· Never drink and drive, statistics indicate that about 50% of road deaths in South Africa are alcohol-related.

· Never drive while using your cell-phone, this will only distract you and cause a lapse in concentration. Rather install a hands-free kit in your car.

· Always rest when feeling tired; there is no point in trying to make your journey in record time and stop every two hours.

· If your visibility is compromised at night, avoid driving after sundown, especially when there are storms or heavy rains.

· Never disobey road signs.

· Be on the lookout for obstructions like potholes or animals, which often stray into the road, especially in rural areas.

· Never overload your car with passengers or goods, this will only slow your vehicle down and cause traffic disruptions.

The Santam claims call centre will be available 24/7 during the busy April month and also during all the public holidays.

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