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Preparing for the Festive Season drive

Time flies, they say.

By Thami Masemola on 22 Oct 2021
Time flies, they say. One minute we are finally welcoming COVID-19 vaccines for those who want them. Next thing it is October. Before we blink again December will be upon us and many of us will be traveling throughout the country in different ways. Those who will be using road transport, specifically cars, have some work to do before the big days.

Ever since holiday traveling began many years ago, motorists have been advised on various ways to prepare themselves and their fellow travellers on how to best take care of their vehicles before and during travels. In this very Festive spirit, has compiled a few tips of our own.

Route planning
Back in the day before satellite navigation we may have advised the purchase of an Atlas map or something similar as a start. Today we have all sorts of in-car satellite navigation services, as well as mobile apps for the job. What is important here is that you thoroughly check your proposed route against possible impediments. As an example, if you plan on driving on the 15th of December you must expect heavy traffic along the major freeways nationally, especially the N1, N2, N3 and the N4. Plot a route that can possibly avoid congestion. Do not neglect to calculate your expected total distance and possible fuel and/ or comfort stops along the way. Also, toll costs periodically increase. Check what they currently are to avoid surprises. Motorists with cars fitted with e-tags should ensure those are fully paid and functioning.

Vehicle maintenance
It goes without saying that the vehicle you choose should be up to the standard required by government regulations regarding the tyre treads, as well as oil and water levels as a start. Check your water levels, especially cooling water and wiper water. While there, test your wipers by spraying water on the windscreen and wiping it off. Take a close look and ensure they have wiped it adequately and that their rubber component is still intact. Lots of rain in December in many South African places. Read your vehicle’s permissible load weight in order not to overload it and endanger yourself, especially if you plan on towing. Other items to check and replace where possible are the brakes, the battery, spare wheel where fitted, headlights and indicator lights.


The Festive season always, without fail, lends itself to days of over eating and too much drinking. Hence the country’s extremely disappointing road death figures during this time. Look after your body while travelling. Make sure you are hydrated with enough water, and that you eat healthy snacks along the way. Drinking alcohol before driving should be a complete no no for everyone. Not only is it illegal, but it is clearly very dangerous. Some new cars have a fatigue detection feature that suggests rest when fatigue has set in. If you are in an older model take a 15 minute rest and stretch every two hours. Most collisions are caused by driver error.

Most of all, enjoy your drive. Take it easy, drive within the speed limit, keep a safe following distance, stop at safe spots and take selfies along the way. Rather take longer to get there than not get there at all.

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