Tag Archives: safety


6 ways to winter-proof your car

With battering storms along the coast and freezing temperatures on the Highveld, winter presents some special challenges for South African car owners.

Jeff Osborne, Head of Automotive at Gumtree South Africa, offers a quick checklist of six essential ways to winter-proof your vehicle.

  1. Get your vehicle serviced or checked – especially the electrics and the battery – because pouring rain is the worst time for a breakdown.
  2. Pay special attention to the windscreen wipers and the de-mister – both need to be in good working order in winter.
  3. In the dark early mornings or in rainy conditions, car lights need to be functioning well and switched on.  Make sure you remember to turn then off once you park to avoid ‘winter flat battery syndrome’. 
  4. Worn tyres are even more dangerous in wet or icy conditions so ensure they have a minimum one millimetre tread.
  5. Parking your car outside in winter potentially exposes it to water or frost damage and can dramatically lower the resale value. Find some cover if you can and, if you can’t, make sure you don’t park under trees during a big storm.
  6. Do not use boiling water to clear a visible layer of frost or ice on the windscreen as this could crack the screen. Use a scraper and your wipers. Then ensure that the demister and rear window heater have properly cleared your view through both front and back windscreens before setting off. 
Read more ways to winter-proof your vehicle

How I learned to ride a bike with the help of BMW

Motorcycles have always been appealing to me and at the beginning of this year I decided it was time to get my bike licence.

Not having any prior experience on a bike, (except a bicycle at Primary School), I set out to achieve this goal and the best way to learn how to ride a motorcycle is in a controlled and most importantly, safe environment.

BMW Rider Academy 

As part of BMW MotorradBMW has a rider academy with ten riding courses dependent on your experience on a motorcycle. They have everything from a Novice course for beginners like me to Advanced, High-Performance and two Off-Road courses.

BMW’s Rider Academy is situated in Pretoria on the Zwartkops Raceway circuit. Bonus: You get to learn how to ride a bike on an actual race track!

BMW has a long history of motorcycles, with their first bike, making its debut in 1923. BMW Motorrad, their motorcycle division has over 30 models in over 90 markets. They have motorcycles for every terrain, from World of Adventures which are the GS models that can be used on mountains and in rivers. Their Touring bikes are for long distance travelling and these include the K1600GT. Sports models, which are proper superbikes (300km+), Heritage models, which are the customised 2014 R32’s, the R NineT Pure and Racer bikes. And lastly, the Roadster bikes, the G310R, which is the only 300cc, their smallest motorcycle and Urban Mobility, which are the scooters.

Also read: BMW Motorrad Festival 2015! For the motorcycle enthusiast!

How To Ride A Bike 101

The BMW Rider Academy instructors prepared a theory lesson for the soon-to-be-riders before heading out for the practical training.

They explained the basics: where you’ll find the clutch, throttle, gears and brakes etc. We were also guided through safety lessons – where a bike should be positioned on the road and what a safe following distance is.

Golden Rule of riding a motorcycle

Look where you want to go.

The most important thing you can do while on a motorcycle is to look ahead, and look at the exact spot you want to go – if you’re looking at the tree, that’s eventually where you’ll end up.

In the practical sessions, 250cc motorcycles were used to teach us how to ride. In a demonstration, instructors taught me how to start the bike and slowly move off with my feet lightly dragging on the ground. Once you get more comfortable after “crawling” you can put your feet up and ride, not going too fast – at this point.

I must admit, this wasn’t the easiest task – but the instructors were patient, and spent more time with riders who struggled.

Later they teach you how to change gears, (it’s not as easy as it seems). Your coordination needs focus, managing the clutch, throttle and both brakes take a lot of thought, but after spending more than five hours on the track, you leave the raceway knowing how to ride.

BMW’s instructors also taught students how to do an emergency stop, a stop-and-go, how to swerve correctly with a motorcycle, as well as things like the correct way to pick up a bike when it falls.

Another important rule: Fitness is important when riding a motorcycle.

Until I actually got to ride a motorcycle, I didn’t know that being “bike fit” was a thing – I thought this just applied to bicycles. I was wrong. I came home sore – but it was worth it!

Parents Beware: Unsafe and illegal car seat has come to SA!

All parents want to protect their children as best they can. When it comes to child car safety, the correct child car seat can seem extremely expensive and some parents may be tempted to choose a cheaper alternative.

This had led to thousands of unsuspecting parents across the world purchasing inexpensive “portable” car seat harnesses online. These “cheaper” options offer parents a false sense of security and do not help to prevent injury or death.

Also read: Isofix car seats a must for kids

Wheel Well are anxious to inform parents of the hazards of using this kind of device instead of a proper child car seat which conforms to EU regulations. Authorities in the United Kingdom have conducted crash tests on cheaply made and untested “portable” car seat harnesses and the results are sobering. These cheap imported seats were shown to disintegrate at a low-speed collision of under 60km/h, propelling a crash test dummy into the front of the vehicle.

To put this in perspective, a normal child car seat is tested to survive impacts at speeds in excess of 100km/h. With the huge forces involved in a car crash, parents must ensure they purchase car seats that adhere to current and tested regulations and standards. In South Africa, we adhere to European standards and the car seat must feature an orange European Economic Commission stamp of approval sticker.

Also read: Less than 7% of South African drivers put their kids in car seats

Parents need to be aware that any defects and shortcomings of a car seat will become apparent during a crash and by that time it will be far too late.

Prevent a lifetime of regret and make sure you buy the correct and legal seat for your child.

Source: Wheel Well 

Protest Action Causes Chaos on N2

Protest action continued on the N2 highway near Cape Town International Airport this morning (29 May 2017).

News24 reported that the N2 near the R102 in Macassar was closed due to protesting. They reported that protesters barricaded the road with burning tyres.

Richard Coleman, Senior Cape Town traffic officer said community members protested for service delivery since 05h30 this morning.

A News24 journalist reported: 


Also read: Tips when driving on the N2 near Cape Town International Airport

EWN reported that heavy traffic was caused on the N2 inbound due to the protest action and poor visibility was caused due to the smoke from the burning tyres.

“Currently, police are on the scene, including provincial and municipal traffic services. We have everything under control, but people have to take alternative routes because the road has been closed,” said Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa.

On Thursday (25 May), IOL reported protest action on the Stellenbosch Arterial. Authorities were forced to close Robert Sobukwe Drive in both directions.

Also read: Reader’s Letter: What is being done to increase safety on the N2? 

Here are tips from motorists who unexpectedly found themselves in the middle of protest action: 

  • Stay in your car as long as possible
  • Unbuckle your seatbelt, and those of any passengers, to be prepared to exit your car quickly
  • Keep your car moving as far as you can, whilst checking for possible escape routes
  • Avoid hitting any protestors with your vehicle as this may turn the mob against you
  • Do not taunt the protesters by shouting, gesticulating or hooting at them
  • Remain as calm as possible to ensure you are aware of what is going on around you
  • Seek assistance or safety from the police as quickly as you can. If you do not see the police, call them.
  • Listen to police instructions
  • If you are stuck and the situation seems to be turning, leave your car and get out of the area on foot. Remember your life is more valuable than your car or any possessions inside
  • Once you are personally safe (with or without your vehicle) call family or friends to let them know where you are, and what is happening
Sources: News24, EWN and IOL

5 reasons why the all-new Land Rover Discovery is the ultimate family car

Everyday ingenuity has been at the heart of the Land Rover Discovery for the last 28 years, and for more than 1.2 million customers worldwide.

The All-Discovery signals the transformation from cogs to code: mechanical prowess and unparalleled off-road capability are now complemented by innovative technology to keep your family safe, connected and confident in all conditions. It has been designed from the outset to enable Land Rover customers to live the lifestyle they aspire to, and the result is the best family SUV in the world.

From its incredibly spacious interior, with room for up to seven people and their luggage, to practical technologies and design features for modern families, the All-New Discovery provides an elegant solution to every need. Most importantly, the All-New Discovery enhances customers’ lives without any compromise to off-road capability, refinement and luxury.

Also read: Land Rover celebrates Evoque landmark with Special Edition

Whether it’s a shopping spree, a school run, or a holiday adventure off the beaten track, the All-New Land Rover Discovery will make every family outing effortless, thanks to these five features:

1. Seven seats for short and tall

With seven seats and its trademark stepped roof line, the All-New Land Rover Discovery has enough room to seat seven adults in absolute comfort. Each seat can be heated, and with up to nine USB ports every passenger can charge their mobile phone or tablet while on the go.

And when you’re in need of extra room, Land Rover’s world-first Intelligent Seat Fold technology allows you to fold seats flat (in just 14 seconds) using the Discovery’s touch screen, dedicated buttons in the cargo area or even remotely using your smartphone.

2. Stowage

Fold the seats flat, and the All-New discovery will offer loading capacity of 2 500 litres. Even with five passengers in the car, there’s still a superb 1 231 litres of luggage volume behind the second row of seats.

But there’s also room for the little things. Up to four iPads can be stowed in the centre console, while the hidden storage compartment behind the climate control panel is a safe space for your wallet or phone. In total, there are nearly 45 litres of stowage space for everyday family essentials.

3. Easy in, easy out

Thanks to its self-levelling air suspension, the All-New Discovery can have its ride height adjusted to suit a variety of conditions. This includes raising it to a maximum of 283mm to clear obstacles. And when you stop to load luggage or strap little ones into their car seats, the All-New Discovery automatically lowers itself by 40mm to ease entry and exit.

It is also available with Gesture Control Tailgate for hands-free opening of the tailgate by simply waving your foot under the bumper. Additionally, the powered inner tailgate folds down to serve as a bench or enable easier loading of cargo.

Also read: Driving Review: Land Rover Discovery Sport

4. Get connected

The All-New Discovery can be had with up to nine USB ports, for charging a wide variety of smart devices, but the smart functionality doesn’t end there. It is also available with InControl Connect Pro, which uses 3G connectivity to create a wireless hotspot for up to eight smartphones, laptops or tablets.

With this connectivity, the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system also gains internet access, allowing for satellite navigation with live traffic and integration with popular apps on drivers’ smartphones.

5. Off-road expertise at the push of a button

Every Land Rover builds on the company’s decades of off-road expertise, and the All-New Discovery features the latest in off-road driver assistance technologies. Included in this is All-Terrain Progress Control, a system that acts like cruise control for off-road driving. Simply select a speed between 1.8km/h and 30km/h, and the Discovery’s drive computers will automatically apply the correct amount of acceleration and braking, allowing even novice drivers to effortlessly negotiate treacherous terrain.

The All-New Land Rover Discovery launches in South Africa at the end of June. Prices start from R980 000.

You can build your own All-New Discovery using the Land Rover configurator: http://rules.config.landrover.com/jdxl/en_za/l462/

Source: MotorPress

Lost your car keys? Bidvest Insurance has a solution

So many of us take our car keys for granted, but what happens when we lose our keys? Without your key, your car is pretty much useless, and car keys go missing each and every day.

Bidvest Insurance has come up with another first in South Africa by developing an affordable solution to missing car keys. Keyguard offers motorists complete peace of mind when it comes to their keys.

Claire Brider, Product Manager at Bidvest Insurance, explained that many motorists don’t realise the cost implications associated when you lose your keys.

Also read: The do’s and don’t’s of car insurance claims

“Many motorists think that, if they lose their car keys, they can pop out to the locksmith and get a new key cut for R50. That’s definitely not the case anymore! As the technology of cars has developed, so too has the technology associated with its keys. Keys are now highly sophisticated devices with lots of electronic components; they’re almost like mini computers. With some cars, you can even use the key to park the vehicle without you in it!” she revealed.

All this technology has meant that the price of the average key has increased considerably. Bidvest Insurance conducted market research, which revealed that a single new car key can cost anything between R3 000 and R10 000. And if you’ve lost your last key and have no spare, you will probably end up having to replace the entire lock set of the vehicle which includes your door locks, ignition etc, which can cost as much as R30 000!

The challenge with lost car keys is that they require a spare or master key to recode the replacement key and usually if these are missing then the repairer can’t code a new key and often the entire lock set will have to be replaced. Some manufacturers require the key to be specially re-coded at a central location, which can be based overseas, leaving you without a key for weeks as you wait for it to be made and shipped back to South Africa.

What about your mobility and how you get around in the meantime? Or worse, what about the other keys on your keyring? Enter Bidvest Keyguard, which offers coverage on any lost, stolen or damaged car key from a Fiat to a Ferrari.

“We always try to put ourselves in our customer’s shoes and ask, what happens if you have lost your keys? Well, firstly, you don’t have mobility. This can be a disaster for any motorist. Just picture the scenario: you are stuck in a parking lot with two screaming children and a trolley full of defrosting groceries. That’s any parent’s worst nightmare! So we’ll cover the use of a taxi or Uber to get you to your next destination.  We’ll also dispatch a locksmith to help you open the car (so you can get valuables out of the boot, for instance), and then while you wait for the new key to be coded or lockset to be fitted we will also supply you with car hire to keep you carrying on with business as usual,” Brider revealed.

Also read: The six most crucial safety features of your car

Flatbed towing is also covered. “Many people think that they have towing covered by regular car insurance. But that’s not always the case. It’s important to note that many towing benefits are only applicable in the event of an accident and don’t always apply if you have lost your key,” she explained.

And if you’re like most motorists, you probably don’t just have a single car key on your keyring; most people have house and office keys and remotes attached to their keys. This can be a huge expense to replace all those keys and remotes. Once again Bidvest Keyguard steps in and covers the loss of home and office keys and remotes attached to your car key as well.

Keyguard is now available from Bidvest McCarthy dealerships countrywide for a mere R980 and provides unlimited cover for two years. The product was launched in March and has already had a massive uptake.

“It really is a powerful product for a tiny price and has exceeded expectations, so now you never need worry about lost keys again,” Brider explained.

Source: MotorPress