Tag Archives: safety


How to avoid getting targeted by criminals this festive season

According to statistics put together by Tracker, 50% of hijackings take place in residential driveways and parking lots and within a 5 km radius of the victim’s home. 80% of vehicle thefts meanwhile occur at shopping centres, schools and social events, mainly over weekends. Both Tracker and Arrive Alive have also identified technology as an increasingly large threat, with criminals using remote devices to prevent a vehicle from being locked.

The above statistics proves that people really do need to be more vigilant, and even more so over the period of the festive season. Here are some tips brought to us by Motorburn to stay safe on the road during the upcoming festive season.

1. When driving up to your house, never park in your driveway facing the gate as hijackers may park behind you and block you in. According to Tracker, this is unquestionably the leading modus operandi for hijackers in South Africa. Always stop in the road until the gate is open before you turn into your driveway.

2. Always travel with windows and doors locked and with valuables out of sight. If windows have to be open, ensure the opening isn’t big enough to fit a hand through.

3. Always leave enough room between your car and the one in front of you to avoid being ‘boxed in’, should you need to escape. Gridlock doesn’t just hurt traffic, it can be a serious handicap when it comes to getting out of a difficult situation.

4. Be aware of anyone who approaches your car at traffic lights, stop streets or your driveway. Don’t be distracted. Being aware of your surroundings can, at the very least, buy you enough time to get out of a tricky situation.

5. Be aware of suspicious looking people, including women, at robots and intersections. Several women have been arrested for hijacking in recent years, either working alone or in gangs with men.

6. Do not drive directly home after you visited a bank or ATM. Be alert to who is around you when leaving the bank or ATM and along the journey to your destination.

7. Always park your vehicle at a secure location and ask the security guard his name. Park under CCTV cameras where possible. Even if something does go wrong, there will at least be a record of it.

8. Make sure that your vehicle is properly locked by testing the door handle. This speaks to the remote jamming we mentioned earlier. It’s also worth mentioning that you should not leave valuables visible on the seats.

9. Use proper rest-stops. Try to avoid stopping on the highway, rather take the next of ramp to stop in a more public area where you can stretch, refresh yourself and/or take a break from driving; and have numbers for roadside assistance and other emergencies close at hand or saved on your cell phone, so that you are well-prepared for any eventuality.

10. If you’re in an accident, be organised. Take a picture with a camera or mobile phone and file an accident report with the police as you will need a case number for your insurance company to fie a claim. Remember to get names, addresses, telephone numbers and ID numbers of everyone involved in the accident

Hand picking up windscreen wiper

Do you know which components of a vehicle are most necessary?

We are in charge of what cars we want and need. If you’re a constantly mobile person who travels alone, you don’t need a large bakkie or minivan. If you’re a single parent with a number of children, it probably doesn’t help to have a small car. Similarly, to help us with our driving experience, it might help to consider what kinds of components are necessary for our cars.


Aside from ascertaining if a product works, we’re also concerned that the product in question is secure. This applies to houses and cars, of course, but the important thing is we have ways to make sure our items stay safe. Security is the primary concern for any owner, considering how expensive cars are.

This is why a highly effective alarm system is essential. Adding this component shouldn’t actually be a question of whether you do it but when. Even from a finance perspective, it makes no sense to avoid safety since anything happening to the items you’ve acquired means more cost in the long run.


Comfort is of course another prerequisite. One of the best ways we can achieve this is by obtaining more space. This could result in various responses: for example, either obtaining a bigger vehicle like a bakkie or 4×4; or it could mean getting a trailer to go behind your vehicle. Of course, we could have further concerns if we did acquire this.

For example, if you decide to acquire a bakkie due to wanting more space and therefore comfort, you might be concerned about leaving items exposed. This can be solved by obtaining a bakkie canopy to help protect and secure your items, however.


Another essential consideration is handling. For example, not only should we make sure we have a high quality spare tyre but tyres themselves should be of excellent quality and regularly tested.

Tyres aren’t the only parts that matter. Batteries, spark plugs, and even windscreen wipers are all essential and overlooked components. Bad windscreen wipers result in obscured visibility, putting your own and others’ lives at risk. Combine this with unchecked tyres that might struggle on the road and you have a very dangerous situation.

The point is that there are many components that go into a good car – they are all there for a reason. Bad quality or erosion to any degree could lead to an unfortunate situation – whether that means the vehicle is stolen or damaged, or you yourself hurt. Others may seem merely aesthetic but they matter too.



Woman on phone in car

What you need to know if you’re driving a car older than 10 years

The average age of cars on South African roads is estimated at 13 to 15 years, which is significantly higher than the European figure of between eight and nine years. This means that the overwhelming majority of SA’s 11,3-million registered vehicles have no driver assistance systems such as anti-lock brakes or stability control.

Although ABS and electronic stability control are increasingly fitted as standard to the new vehicles, the reality is that most of the cars on our roads still make do with a far lower safety threshold. This leads to much longer braking distances, particularly in the wet, as well as reduced grip when steering and taking evasive action. Accordingly, it is even more important for owners of these older vehicles to fit the best tyres possible.

“For cars without driver assistance systems, premium tyres are a must,” says Prof Burkhard Wies, Head of Tyre Line Development at Continental. “They deliver high levels of grip when accelerating and braking, as well as precise lateral guidance when cornering. “In hazardous situations, premium tyres offer higher levels of safety, and this is crucial as the sole link between the car and the road is the tyres. This makes them the most important safety system on any vehicle.”

Drivers who opt for cheap tyres because of the low residual value of their cars, or consider premium tyres too expensive, are placing themselves and other road users at risk. “Cheap tyres regularly fail these tests due to their much lower levels of grip and unsafe handling characteristics, especially in the wet,” states Niel Langner, Marketing Manager for Continental Tyre South Africa.

A recent winter tyre test showed that cheap tyres recorded braking distances more than 30% longer compared to those achieved with the equivalent premium tyres. “While this test was focussed on winter tyres, the trend is matched in the segments for summer, 4×4 and commercial tyres too, and could make the difference between avoiding a collision or adding to SA’s already dire road accident statistics,” Langner says.

“Even a minor dent will normally work out more expensive to repair than the difference between cheap tyres and a premium product…”. Despite their critical role in driving safety, tyres are often still considered a grudge purchase. Price remains one of the key deciding factors – both for older cars and even for modern vehicles with the latest safety features.

“We urge motorists to factor in the critical safety benefits offered by premium tyres, which have the benefit of extensive design, research, testing and development,” Langner points out.

Equally, proper tyre maintenance and care is important throughout the year, and specifically during the upcoming festive season with its high traffic volumes and large number of accidents and road deaths.



This will be everybody’s new favourite safety feature

Opel has been awarded a Euro NCAP Advanced reward for forward-thinking vehicle technology. The award is only bestowed upon car manufacturers who make new safety technologies available which demonstrate a scientifically-proven benefit for consumers and society.

Opel’s Side Blind Spot Alert system, which warns drivers about potential hazards in the vehicle’s blind spot, was developed on the back of crash statistics. Inn Europe, ten percent of all serious accidents, and five percent of traffic-related fatalities, are the result of accidents where the vehicle’s blind spot inhibits safe driving.

In ADAM, Corsa, Astra, Cascada and Zafira Tourer in Europe, the Side Blind Spot Alert utilises four ultrasonic sensors to scan lateral traffic, while the Insignia features a radar-based system. The system scans wide areas around the vehicle, with sensors designed to detect objects on a collision course, triggering an amber-coloured optical warning light fitted to each side mirror. Extra-bright LED lighting means the warning symbol cannot be missed, even in bright sunlight.

In a recent survey, Opel Insignia owners were delighted with Side Blind Spot Alert, with 97.2 percent never switching the system off, 87 percent expressing that they were completely convinced by the functionality and 82 percent insisting that they would definitely order the electronic guardian again when buying a new car.

Side Blind Spot Alert works between 10 and 140 km/h in the new Opel ADAM, and is fitted as standard to the new ADAM JAM and ADAM GLAM in South Africa.


You can get your vehicle checked for FREE before the holidays

South Africa’s Retail Motor Industry organisation (RMI) has initiated a free safety check campaign aimed at ensuring that vehicles are fit for journeys undertaken over the Christmas holiday period.
The RMI has obtained a commitment from a selection of the country’s private and municipal vehicle testing stations to provide resources to conduct safety checks between December 1 and December 13.

In the past similar campaigns have revealed that up to 78% of vehicles tested for safety critical defects have been found to require repairs.

“With the festive season being synonymous with a high rate of road deaths and injuries, the RMI urges all motorists to take their vehicles to participating testing stations to have them checked for safety. The purpose is to ensure that vehicles are in a fit condition, especially with regard to safety critical items, that could make the difference between life and death,” says the RMI’s CEO, Jakkie Olivier.

Safety critical items participating testing stations will check for free comprise:
• All lights including indicators;
• Seat belts;
• Windscreen wipers;
• Front and rear tyres
• Brakes front and rear, including the parking brake;
• Steering mechanisms including control arms, steering boxes and tie rod ends;
• Front and rear suspension;
• Exhaust system;
• Wheel alignment.

Operators of non-RMI affiliated testing stations have been asked by the RMI to commit their resources to the campaign. “We would like to check as many vehicles as possible,” said Olivier. “The aim is to help to reduce the high level of road deaths and injuries that occur over this period.”

For details of participating testing stations contact the RMI’s regional offices at Johannesburg 011 789 2542; Pretoria 012 348 9311; Cape Town 021 939 9440; Durban 031 266 7031. Testing stations in the Free State, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape are not involved in the campaign.


These are 5 of the most dangerous roads in the world!

Is there anything scarier than driving on a really scary, tiny, elevated, windy road with absolutely no barrier or road signs? Well maybe a few things, but there is no doubt it is pretty scary. Let’s just say, if you are afraid of tiny spaces and heights, you might want to stay away from these dangerous roads!

Here are five of the most dangerous roads to drive on:

1. The way to Fairy Meadows, Pakistan


2. Sichuan-Tibet Highway, China


3. The Himalayan Roads


4. Pasubio, Italy


5. Highway Of Death, Iraq