Imagine life without your wheels? Lack of regular car maintenance can not only take away your independence but can also be potentially dangerous. Faulty brakes, thinning tyre tread or low car fluids are just some of the quick maintenance measures you can take to ensure your vehicle keeps you moving.
Casey Rousseau, Marketing Manager, of 1st for Women Insurance believes women can be prepared not only when they are on the road but off the road too.
“Based on the latest Easter Road stats and comments from Transport Minister Blade Nzimande, women are safer drivers than men, as 71% of fatalities were caused by male drivers while only 24% were as a result of female drivers. Women want to be prepared for every scenario and there are some quick ways to check our cars before getting behind the wheel,” says Rousseau.
Professional racing car driver, Clare Vale, says the first step is for women to think of their cars as more than the thing that gets them from A to B. “By looking after your car properly, which includes regular services, you will find it hardly ever lets you down. And there are also a couple of things you can do during these intervals,” she says.
Once a week inspections: Walk around your car and check for any issues which can lead to bigger problems. Fluid leaks such as oil or water can happen without you realising it. Inspect tyres for pothole damage and smooth patches. Poor tyres can cause accidents which is not surprising when you consider that only four little patches of rubber the size of the palm of your hand is what keeps you on the road. Windscreen chips or fractures can quickly turn into full blown cracks reducing driver visibility especially in rainy conditions.
Just like you, your car needs fluids: Don’t just wait for service intervals before your oil gets changed. Be sure to refer to the handbook to see what oil is right for your car and keep a small bottle in your car for top ups. Also ensure your car is regularly topped up with water. The temperature gauge on the car will show whether the vehicle has this right level of water. Keep a two litre bottle of water in the car to top up, especially while on long drives.
Remember your spare tyre: Not something any of us would want to happen, but should the time come to change your tyre, you need to be prepared. When checking pressure and pumping up your tyres, do the same for the spare. Same goes for the tread and any potential leaks. When it comes to changing your tyre, the standard tool kit is sometimes not sufficient. A decent tyre spanner with a socket and a long handle will give you extra leverage to loosen tight wheel nuts. Keep a pair of gloves with padded grips in the boot which will also help with changing the spare.
And being prepared when on the road?
“While we can do our best to be prepared off the road by regularly maintaining our cars, the reality is, South African roads are dangerous, considerably so over busy periods such as long weekends. That is why technological advancements such as crash detection can help reduce fatalities,” says Rousseau. “According to ResearchGate, every one minute reduced in the accident response time can make a 6% difference in the number of lives that can be saved. If emergency services can reach an accident scene quicker, the chances of fatal accidents can be reduced.”
The Guardian Angel on Call benefit, (included in the 1st for Women comprehensive car insurance policy) operates from the 1st for Women App and will alert emergency services should you be in a severe car accident. It can also be shared with up to five of the policy holder’s family or loved ones, as well as the regular driver on the 1st for Women policy. So even if you are not travelling this long weekend, but your children are, they will also get the assistance they need. The life-saving accident detector also sends personal medical information, such as medical conditions and allergies, saved on the app by the user, to enable Emergency Medical Services to offer more effective treatment.
“Such measures will hopefully reduce road fatalities and give women peace of mind when travelling this long weekend,” says Rousseau.