Failing to plan, planning to fail

As drivers take full advantage of downtime during the school holidays and set their sights on holiday destinations across South Africa, it is essential to place emphasis on the subsequent preparation and planning of these holidays. This will help create a worry-free, relaxing journey and, consequently, holiday.   

The CEO of MasterDrive Eugene Herbert says, “Planning long-distance journeys is of utmost importance. When you plan every aspect of a journey from the maintenance of your vehicle to route planning, it makes a significant difference to the safety of your occupants and yourself,” says Herbert.

Vehicle maintenance

Completing a comprehensive vehicle check before driving long distances is as essential as packing for that trip. “Approximately 14.1% of crashes result from mechanical failure, emphasising the importance of ensuring vehicles are in optimal working condition. Avoiding the cost of preventative maintenance has another cost attached to it - the lives of your loved ones.

“Examples of components that should be checked include checking wipers have not perished, engine oil and other fluids are at recommended levels, brakes are above the minimum thickness of 3.2mm, tyres are in good condition and correctly inflated and all lights are functioning,” says Herbert.

Route planning

Take time to plan your route. “Include frequent stops (approximately every two hours or according to personal physical limits) to rest. Planning departure times will also allow you to try select quieter travel times or when children are more likely to sleep through driving – be cautious of travelling in the dark as this comes with inherent risks, including more unroadworthy vehicles on the road.

“Planning can also assist in avoiding difficult road conditions, like construction areas, or crime hotspots where possible. If you are driving a significant distance, consider stopping overnight and resume travel the following day. These minor changes can make a significant difference,” says Herbert.

Packing essentials

Packing for a trip includes packing for road safety. “Pack a basic first aid kit in the car, ensure items like jumper cables are in your vehicle and include emergency tyre repair too. This will equip you for any possible unforeseen circumstances.

“Do not forget games, books and other entertainment for the children. Prepare healthy snacks that fuel your mind and energy levels during the trip and avoid slumps that come with more unhealthy options,” says Herbert.

With careful planning and preparation, drivers can ensure their holidays are not only enjoyable but reduce stress as much as possible.