Tag Archives: safety

buying a car

Safety considerations when buying a new car

Safety first: Buying a safe vehicle

Price, style, fuel efficiency, resale value – these are all factors to consider when buying a new car. But there’s one more thing that should also be high on your checklist. Safety.

You might think that all modern cars are safe enough to drive. This is certainly true, as safety technology has improved all round and all vehicles have to pass rigorous tests. That being said, some vehicles are safer than others.

While there are a lot of technical terms and abbreviations, understanding safety features is quite simple. Because all the safety features fit into two categories.

1. Crash protection

Nobody wants to be involved in a collision, but you’ll feel safer knowing your vehicle is designed to protect its occupants as far as possible.

A safe car will have a strong cabin structure that can withstand heavy impacts, so your passengers aren’t affected.  Crumple zones, on the other hand, are exterior sectors that absorb as much of the force of the impact as possible.

Curtain and side air bags are of course important, as are head rests that will prevent whiplash. Seatbelts are standard with every car. However, the three point sash seat belts provide better protection than the two point seat belts. Remember that it doesn’t help to have seatbelts if you aren’t using them. Make it a family habit to always put on seatbelts, even if just driving down the block.

2. Crash avoidance

Even better than being protected in a collision is not being in a collision in the first place.

Antilock braking system (ABS) help you maintain control of your vehicle, by preventing the tyres from skidding during heavy braking, or when driving on slippery surfaces.

During acceleration, traction control systems enhance the stability and grip on the road. They measure wheel rotation to stop wheel spin, reduce engine power, and even temporarily apply brakes if necessary. Your vehicle can then accelerate smoothly, even on slippery surfaces.

Electronic stability control (ESC) uses computer controlled technology to apply individual brakes, reducing the possibility of skidding or losing control in a case of over-steering. Should you lose control of your vehicle, ESC helps you get back on track. This feature alone reduces single car crashes by up to 25%.

Does the car pass the test?

It helps knowing what safety features to look out for when shopping around. But don’t neglect your digital resources. At your fingertips, you have access to numerous online safety reviews and rating systems. Do some research to find out if the car you’re interested in meets high enough standards.

For example, NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, gives trusted safety reviews, as well as a safety rating out of five stars. Look out for models that earn at least four stars. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) assesses how well vehicles protect occupants in front, side, rollover and rear crashes, while also rating front crash prevention systems.

Finally, remember that handling and stability in a car is important as well. While you can read reviews on this, sometimes the best is to simply test drive the car. You want to make sure that you’re buying a car you’re comfortable with driving.

The Chevrolet Cruze, which was awarded five stars by NHTSA, and was an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2013, is one of the best examples of a safe vehicle currently on the road.


Be careful on the road over payday weekends

The Western Cape transport officials have launched a campaign to curb high payday weekend road deaths as an analysis of road fatalities show there have been an increase of more than 20% in road deaths this year, especially over payday weekends.

Department spokesperson Siphesihle Dube said, “Statistics released by Safely Home have revealed to us that our payday weekends are amongst the most dangerous with fatalities spiking during this time.”

A total of 26 deaths were recorded over a payday weekend last month. Provincial Traffic Chief Kenny Africa says, “We’ve got the City of Cape Town on board with us so that we can curb this problem, especially with the 24/7 service that we are rendering.”

Western Cape transport officials launched a the #PayDayBlues campaign to curb high payday weekend road deaths.

wet roads

Gauteng, it’s your turn for rain! Tips for driving in hazardous weather conditions

Even though the rainy season has almost passed for Capetonians, the bad weather conditions is yet to start for the people of Gauteng. Weather conditions such as rain and hail can be hazardous on the road.

“South Africa is known for extreme cold and hot weather effects – from summer thunder and hail storms, to fog and mist, smoke from veld fires and strong winds. An unfortunate accident on our roads can happen at any given time due to various weather related hazards,” says Derek Wilson – the head of Hippo.co.za. He gives us some further tips on for driving during the rainy season and bad weather conditions.

Arrive Alive has accident statistics available on their website to spread awareness about how dangerous our roads can be. Not only is the upcoming festive season the most fatal time on our roads, but it also is the rainy season for most of the country, especially the busy parts such as Durban, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

Wilson says, “We are on the road daily –Whether it’s for a business meeting, or family errands. It’s not surprising that road accidents are the single biggest cause of death or serious injury in our country. Having adequate insurance cover for your car and life should be seriously considered. You will be surprised at how affordable finding the right product at the right price for you can be.”

• Stay within the speed limit at all times, if it is raining – slow down.
• Don’t tailgate, especially when it’s raining – always stay at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front on you. If you are the one being tailgated, don’t slam on the brakes to teach the driver a lesson.
• Always drive with your headlights on during bad weather conditions – it will make your motor vehicle more visible.
• Don’t assume that trucks drive like cars. Trucks need more room to stop on dry roads, which makes it even more challenging when the roads are wet.
• Be extra careful during the first half hour after rain begins. Grime and oil on the road surface mix with water to make the road slippery.

smash and grab

Smash-and-grab incidents on the rise in Cape Town

As smash-and-grab incidents are becoming an epidemic all over the Western Cape, we find it is helpful to warn our readers of crooks on the prowl.

If you make use of the Weltevreden and Govan Mbeki Road intersection near Phillipi, it is advised that you be very cautious as it is now a hot spot for smash and grabs. As this road links Philippi, Manenberg, Hanover Park, Lansdowne, Ottery and Wetton, it has made the intersection popular for locals travelling via Vanguard Drive.

Philippi police spokesperson, Lieutenant Lance Goliath has confirmed that there has been a smash-and-grab trend in the area.

A motorist has recently witnessed an unsuspecting driver fall victim to the crime. He said, ”I spotted a man walking towards the car at the red robot ahead of me. It looked like he was begging but he had other intentions because I saw him looking into the car’s back window. The man was not paying attention and the ‘beggar’ hit, running off with a bag.”. But he himself has become a victim after witnessing this and two other smash-and-grab incidents.

He said, “My daughter and I were driving home after buying take-aways when a man approached the car. I only realised what had happened when it was too late. He smashed the window and took the food off my daughter’s lap. While he didn’t get away with much, the cost of repairing the window was steep.”

If you are a frequent motorist in this area, please be vigilant and have a look at these tips to help prevent smash-and-grab incidents from happening to you.



Driving and texting

Traffic cops may soon detect if you’re texting and driving

Is texting and driving one of your bad habits? Police could soon be equipped with a hand-held device to catch drivers using their phone behind the wheel. This news became apparent after the US-based Virginian Pilot reported that a small tech firm is blending electronic cable repair technology with police equipment to create a new tool for law enforcement. ComSonics, which works to calibrate radar guns and other police equipment, says its technology is “close to production”.

Distracted driving is described as an epidemic sweeping our roads and the main culprit is texting and driving as it’s estimated that  texting and driving might be the number one killer on the road by 2015. This topic is receiving much attention internationally and even car manufacturers have joined the call to ban drivers from text messaging with cell phones and other hand-held devices.

The device is based on sensors used to detect radio emissions leaking from damaged electronic cables and therefore the device will be able to show you which cars are actively using their cell phones.

ComSonics, the company,  presented the new technology at a ”distracted driving summit” in Virginia, where it told delegates that there were several hurdles to clear surrounding use of the technology.

The company says drivers should not be worried about privacy issues as devices cannot decode information such as text messages.

However, another entrepreneur has proposed a different solution to texting and driving. His company, Katasi, has developed a system that will lock incoming calls or text messages to mobile phones while cars are on the move.  Passengers will be free to use phones as the system can learn a family’s patterns and movements before deducing who is driving the car – such as a teenager driving home from school – while using GPS sensors to check if a phone is moving or stationary.


makeup in car

You should not be doing any of these things while driving

Most drivers on the road would say that they are pretty good drivers, and they feel they rarely put themselves in harms way when on the road – however this is actually a misjudgment. Just because you haven’t been in a life threatening accident does not mean you are a safe driver by any means. Having not been in an accident should not be what determines a safe driver from an unsafe one.

Here are 8 of the most dangerous things we tend to do while driving. These are things we do without thinking, but it’s a fact that even just looking away for a split second may cost you your life.

1. Eating while driving.

For most people eating a quick apple while driving might be fine, but if you’re munching on a sandwich and all of a sudden you look down because you just realised you messed all over yourself – that right there could be your fatal flaw.

2. Road rage.

People driving while they are upset is a common occurrence and you don’t have to have been upset by another driver to experience road rage. You might simply have had a bad day. Driving in this state is dangerous and causes distraction, which, in turn, affects a driver’s ability to concentrate. If you do become upset with another driver, you may tend to start driving aggressively which is an accident waiting to happen.

3. Reaching for something.

How often have you reached for your cellphone in your handbag on the floor or on the passenger seat? This could be the worst thing to do. If you are trying to reach something, you are distracting yourself from keeping your eyes on the road and you don’t have your hands properly placed on the steering wheel to respond to something if it were to happen.

4. Putting on makeup.

Apart from jamming the mascara brush into your eye, a lot of other things can go wrong if you put on makeup while driving. Think of it this way – you might not have a face to put on any make up after an accident. Therefore, rather leave the make up while you’re driving.

5. Changing Clothes.

There is not a single article of clothing that should be changed while driving. Changing clothes involves taking your foot off the brake, hands off the steering wheel, and eyes off the road.

6. Driving with headphones.

If you drive with headphones, you automatically take away one of the two things that keeps you focused on the road – sound. If you are driving with headphones or ear buds in, you are tossing your sense of sound out the car window.

7. Driving with a child or pet on your lap.

Driving with a child or dog on your lap is one of the worst mistakes you can make, yet we see it all the time. It is simply unsafe to transport a pet or small infant in the car without an appropriate car seat.

8. Using your phone or tab while driving.

Everybody knows that texting, taking a phone call or taking a selfie  while driving is dangerous, yet countless people do it. It not only averts your attention, it means you aren’t focused on the road, and hands are not on the wheel – which are the important things you need to stay safe on the road.