Tag Archives: safety

Two more Kugas up in flames this weekend

This past weekend saw two more Ford Kuga vehicles go up in flames on our South African roads.

Ford has come under fire after a number of their vehicles have caught fire this year. Times LIVE has estimated that 23 Kugas have burst into flames. Last year Decemeber saw Reshall Jimmy die while trapped inside his burning vehicle. The vehicle was said to have an electric fault – which then led to the fire.

The latest incident saw the Kuga of Sabelo Cele go up in flames on the N1, while he and his family were on their way to Lanseria airport on Sunday.

A Facebook page titled, “Ford Vehicles Burning” has been created for victims to share their stories.

Cele wrote:

“On Sunday morning I was driving to Lanseria Airport on the N1 south to drop off my wife and 18 month old son for a 07h55 flight to Durban. I checked my rear view mirror and I saw smoke coming from the back of the car. I told my wife the car is smoking I was going to pull over. The smoke started coming out from the engine as soon as I stopped in the yellow line. My wife and I both jumped out the car and she unbuckled our son from his car seat. Flames started coming out from the bonnet while I was grabbing some of our belongings from the inside the car. I managed to get some items out, but when I went to the boot, it wouldn’t open. My wife’s luggage bags and my sons items, like his pram, were in there. I ran off to join my wife and son who were already far from the car and looked on to watch our Ford Kuga go up in flames. My wife is still in shock, not about the car burning, but about what could have been if the doors didn’t open.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) provinicial leader in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Zwakele Mncwango witnessed another Kuga burst into flames and posted images on his Facebook and Twitter pages.

On Saturday owner of the vehicle, Nivesh Sewpersadh, was on his way to the Ford dealership after having problems with his vehicle.

He told The Mercury, “I noticed smoke and pulled off to the centre island. I opened the door and had one leg out before the car even came to a stop.”

“I took the service books, my cellphone and keys and ran across the road. Then I saw it was in flames,” said Sewpersadh.

A petition has been created at change.org to get justice for Jimmy, who passed away and the other victims who suffered at the hand of their vehicles.

Images via: Facebook and Twitter




Isofix car seats a must have for kids

Isofix is a car seat fitting system that has been internationally standardised – this means it can be fitted in cars across the globe.

Car seats with this fitting system are said to be the safest on the market.

“Isofix provides the safest, easiest and quickest way to install a child car seat correctly, without the need to use seatbelts,” said Debbie Billson from Brands Africa.

Isofix has proven to be outstandingly safe in tests, specifically because it is directly attached to the body of the vehicle. “The benefits of Isofix is that it that your car seat is installed to the chassis of your vehicle.”

Also read: Shocking number of SA parents don’t own car seats

The fitting system was first developed in 1997 and was made standard in new cars from 2006. Billson, however, said not all cars are fitted with Isofix.

“Not all cars are fitted with Isofix, most European manufactured cars have Isofix.  We do recommend that the consumers check their manual or contact their dealer if they are not sure if their cars have Isofix.”

What distinguishes Isofix car seats from regular car seats is that it has specifically designed anchor points that latch onto the hidden metal clips at the base of the seat in your car.

“With Isofix, there is less risk of incorrect installation of the car seat.  One of the biggest causes of injuries to children in the event of a car accident is that the seat was not installed properly.”

Also read: Tips on how to clean your car seat

Isofix uses two standard anchor points that are located at the base of the seat and an anti-tipping or anti-rotation device, which is either a support leg or a top tether.

Support Leg: This is positioned on the floor of the car between the front and back seat where the car seat is on.

Top Tether: This is a universal system – this means the car seat should fit all cars with the top tether as an anchor point. It can be located at different places at the back of the rear seat, at the bottom of the boot or on the ceiling.

The Isofix car seats are categorised by three stages:

Group 0                            New Born to 75cm

Group 1                            67cm to 105cm

Group 2/3                        105cm to 1.35m

Isofix car seats are generally more expensive than the standard car seats – but they do vary in pricing. Bambino Elite Isofix car seat prices from R3, 999 at Babies R Us and Baby City.

Watch Bambino’s Isofix car seat installation


Traffic light technology that tells you when it will change

Remember when your driving instructor told you to watch for when the opposite traffic light changes to amber before getting your clutch control ready to pull away? With the traffic light technology in  the new Audi A3 and Q7 models, life will be made far easier.

The German automobile manufacturer has now introduced technology which will be in all A3 and Q7 models built after June this year that will tell you exactly how long a robot has been red.

Sadly, the technology has only been implemented in Nevada, Las Vegas, due to a partnership Audi has formed with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

How this technology works is the cars are directly linked to the traffic light information system of the city, using a 4G LTE data connection. The Audi servers make a direct connection to the traffic management centres and real-time traffic light information is sent to the vehicle.

Also read: Audi is tops when it comes to quality 

Pilot projects in Europe have proven this eases the flow of traffic, with drivers thinking they are somehow “beating the system”.

Not only does it count down to the light changing to green, it also displays the colour of the next traffic light you are approaching. If you’re within the speed limit and the traffic light is red – it will show you exactly how long it will take before it turns green. This will give you time to slow down and with this – save on fuel. An excellent safety feature is that by 4 seconds the countdown will disappear, giving the driver enough time to look at the road.

Audi is looking to introduce this technology in Europe, with pilot projects already taking place in Germany.

Source: IOL Motoring



Scotland bans smoking in vehicles with children present

In October 2015 the banning of smoking in vehicles with children under the age of 18 came into effect in both England and Wales. Scotland has now jumped on the bandwagon with the banning implemented by their government this week.

This ban forms part of the Scottish government’s plans to lower the smoking rate to less than 5% in 2034, in the hopes that it will eventually lead to a “tobacco-free” generation.

Those who disobey the law will be fined £100, that’s R1 753.73 on the spot. If the case goes to court, they will need to pay £1,000, which is R17 534.79.

South African tobacco legislation states, “No person may smoke in any vehicle or car when a child under the age of 12 years is present in that vehicle.”

An overwhelming amount of research has been done on the effects of smoking, secondhand smoking and more specifically smoking in vehicles in the presence of minors.

Also read: Car safety tips for children

Here are some of the risks to children associated with smoking in vehicles:

Smoking is dangerous to anyone but more specifically to children as they are still developing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children are at risk of increased rates of lower respiratory illness, middle ear effusion, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome.

Children under the age of six who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of getting respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

The AAP concluded that exposure during childhood to tobacco smoke may lead to the development of cancer in adulthood.

Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health found “alarming” levels of secondhand smoke and concluded, “smoking in cars under typical driver and traffic conditions provides potentially unsafe secondhand smoke exposure”.

A survey released in 2013 found that 82% of American adults prefer prohibiting smoking in vehicles with children present. Should this law be implemented in South Africa next?

Source: AFP and Tobacco Free Kids

Pretoria woman leaves 4-year-old in car while shopping

Now that the holiday season is in full swing and lots of Christmas shopping needs to be done, we know how going to the mall with your child can often be difficult.

With toddlers who are exploring and wanting everything their eyes meet, it is not uncommon to see an unhappy (crying) child at the mall. Unfortunately not enough South African shopping centres have facilities to keep children busy while their parents are filling the trollies.

A Pretoria woman did something many people think is okay when it’s absolutely not. The unidentified woman went to Tiffany’s shopping centre on the Dolphin Coast and left her four-year-old son in the car, according to News24.

The incident occurred last Friday when a concerned citizen noticed the child and started communicating with him through a small gap left open in the car’s window. After waiting for 10 minutes she then contacted emergency services, said IPSS Medical Response Spokesperson Paul Herbst.

Herbst added that after the woman had returned to her son and vehicle, she responded that she does this all the time and it is perfectly safe before she got in her car and sped off.

In 2014, News24 reported on the deaths of three children who suffocated after being left in a car. Children who are left in cars are at risk of suffocating and heatstroke, among other things. In the United States, a reported 39 children have died due to heatstroke after being left in a car this year.

Heatstroke can damage the brain and other body organs – which can lead to death. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, the temperature inside of a car can increase by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes . Cracking a window doesn’t help the temperature from rising to a dangerous level.

Also read: What should you do if you spot a child alone in a car? 

Here are 5 reasons not to leave your children in the car according to Michelle LaRowe, writer of ‘Parenting’.

1. It is scary for a child to be left alone.
2. A car’s temperature can change quickly. It can become too hot or too cold in minutes.
3. You could lock your keys in the car, along with your child.
4. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 30 children die each year when they are alone in the car. One of those 30 could be yours.
5. In some countries, it’s illegal. It can be considered a misdemeanour offense and if your child is hurt or worse, it can become a felony.


3 rules of the road commonly broken

We know of the general laws that get broken on the road like people not wearing safety belts or people speeding, but here are three laws that people generally break when it comes to driving without even realising it.

Here are the top 3:

  1. Jaywalking on highways

This is actually very dangerous and you do not want to find yourself walking in a place where cars drive 120km/h. In terms of the National Road Traffic Act, no person is allowed on the freeway on foot. According to AA, there are three exceptions to this rule: The first exception applies if you are within an area reserved for the stopping or parking of vehicles, indicated by an appropriate road traffic sign. The second is if there is a cause beyond a person’s control – for instance, if your car breaks down or you are involved in an accident on the highway. The third and final exception is if you are performing service in the Citizen Force as per the Defence Act. This is allowed between the junction of an off-ramp and the junction of an on-ramp on the left-hand side of the roadway, unless a Road Traffic sign forbids the presence of such person on such freeway or junction.

2. Using fog lights when there is no fog

The law states: “No person shall operate on a public road, a motor vehicle while any fog lamp fitted to such vehicle is lit, except in conditions of poor visibility caused by snow, fog, mist, dust or smoke.” Therefore, it’s illegal to have your fog lamps switched on when visibility is clear. Your normal headlights are the ones that should be used for the dark.

3. Driving in the yellow lane

No, I don’t mean if you just temporarily move into the yellow lane to let a car overtake you- there are some people who actually drive there! Legally, the only time you are allowed to use the emergency lane is if you have a real emergency, such as if your car breaks down or if you have a medical emergency. On a freeway, the emergency lane is reserved for emergencies only like fire-fighting vehicles, emergency response vehicles, rescue vehicles and ambulances, so if you need to use it then the purpose needs to be for the same kind of reasons.

(Source: AA and Carmagblog)