Tag Archives: safety


The key question: Is it safe to overtake?

The seemingly simple manoeuvre of overtaking/ passing other vehicles accounts for a high rate of fatalities on South African roads. Sometimes what may seem like a good opportunity to overtake really isn’t. Arrive Alive gives some great tips on overtaking:

First you have to ask the question: Should I overtake? 

Any driving movement can be considered with reference to the questions “Is it safe, legal and convenient?” There is often very little advantage to be gained for the risk taken! Only after answering YES to the following questions should you start to even think of overtaking:

Can I see far enough ahead to be sure it is safe?
Am I able to pull back to my own side of the road in plenty of time after completing the manoeuvre?
Can I abandon the overtaking manoeuvre if another hazard comes into view?
Will I come into conflict with any other road user?
Will it be legal to overtake here?

Where to Overtake:

Some places are simply better and safer to overtake than others! The decision to overtake is more difficult on a single lane road because of the different physical nature of the road. Dual lane roads are more likely to be straighter and have a higher speed limit which makes overtaking easier. The piece of road that you choose for overtaking must be free of junctions. Be alert to road markings indicating possible junctions. A vehicle emerging from a junction ahead may not be able to see you. If a vehicle does emerge from a junction ahead of you while you are performing an overtaking manoeuvre then the danger of an accident increases sharply. The farther you may identify slower moving vehicles ahead prior to overtaking the better.

You need a straight stretch of road that is long enough that you can move out, overtake the slower vehicle, and return to a normal driving position. Keep in mind that if the road is straight and allows you to increase speed, it would be so for oncoming traffic as well and they might also have increased their speed! Oncoming traffic has to be taken into consideration before overtaking, even the possibility of a car coming from around a bend.

When NOT to overtake:

On the left shoulder of the road. To overtake on the wrong side in the emergency lane is totally inconsiderate of the needs of road users who in the case of an accident may be in need of emergency services.

Where a vehicle has stopped at a pedestrian crossing or a scholar patrol

If overtaking can create a danger to any pedestrians such as in parking areas, building complexes, near schools etc.

Where the vehicle in front is slowing down at a YIELD sign.

Where the driver of the vehicle ahead is not able to have a clear vision of what is behind and passing.

Where pedestrians might be moving between parked vehicles and passengers climbing from vehicles.

In blind areas such as bends in roads, corners, near junctions, crossroads, and intersections.

In blind spot areas such as sharp curves or bends in the route, except where the road is wide enough to allow safe overtaking.

Where the vehicle in front is slowing down when approaching a hill or a blind rise.

Gravel roads: Gravel roads have no markings to assist the driver to remind him where it is dangerous to pass and with the dust from the front vehicle it makes the visibility even worse.The road condition is also worse near bends and in hilly areas.

Take offs and construction works: To overtake other vehicles that are patiently waiting in a queue for their turn and push in at the front is just rude.

Overtaking isn’t something that can be done without caution. Follow these tips and ask yourself the safety questions before overtaking another vehicle to avoid risking your life. If you feel it’s unsafe to overtake it probably is. Rather wait than risk a car crash due to overtaking.



Simple road trip hacks you need to know about

Spring is just around the corner and people are starting to plan some road trips for the holidays. Those ”spur of the moment” road trips are always the best, so check out these quick and easy road trip hacks and tips for a fun and worry-less road trip adventure!

1. Snacks are an important part of road tripping, especially if it’s a long trip. Always stay prepared and keep some snack in direct contact (aka not in the bottom bag with all other bags stacked on top).

2. Keep extra cash aside for toll gates. If you’re driving a route that’s unfamiliar to you, you might have to drive through an unforseen toll gate or two.

3. You can always use a binder clip to make a car stand for your phone if you are using it as your GPS.


4. A cereal container is the perfect no-spill trash can. Trash laying around in your car is always nasty!

5. Bring along a lunch box or shower holder or something similar for easy eating, if you’re eating on the go it helps to have your food on a tray-like gadget.

6. If you’re parking your car when exploring a new city, drop a pin so that you can find your car again.


7. Take a screenshot of directions for in case the signal gets bad.

8. Bring along a two-port USB charger or a multi-way charger if you really like electronics.

9. Pack an emergency kit along.


10. Don’t pack in a million suitcases. If you are going with a few people rather pack more than one person’s belongings into one big suitcase as it takes up less space.

11. Be prepared with music either on CD’s or loaded onto a device. The radio signal is bad in some areas.

12. If you can, turn your cup holder into a multi-level container.


13. Always bring a map in case your GPS fails you.

14. Lastl, but not least – know how to change a tyre. This is important, especially for ladies. If you are unsure, let someone show you how to do it before hand or check out a video tutorial and keep instructions on you.



Have a look at our recent road trip ideas for spring!


All-new Volvo XC90 finally unveiled

Some of our readers might have seen our previous article on the Volvo XC90 as the all-new Volvo XC90 has, over the past few months, gradually been revealed from the inside out. Today we finally get to see the end result – something long awaited by most Volvo enthusiasts.

The original Volvo XC90 was launched in 2002, and it revolutionised the SUV segment with its combination of space, versatility and safety. It went on to become a global sales phenomenon. The all-new Volvo XC90 will, once again, revolutionise the SUV segment and will set the benchmark for what should be expected from a technologically advanced luxury SUV.

“SPA has enabled us to create the world’s first SUV without compromises,” says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. “You get the in-command feel, generous interior space and flexible capability combined with the agility and smooth comfort of a much smaller and lower car. The adrenaline rush that is key to true driving pleasure is delivered by powertrains that offer an unrivalled combination of power and clean operation. And since the all-new Volvo XC90 carries the Volvo badge, world-class safety is standard.”

The all-new Volvo XC90’s interior combines materials such as soft leather and wood with handcrafted details including a gear-lever made of crystal glass. The most striking feature of the car’s interior might be the tablet-like touch screen control console, which forms the heart of an all-new in-car control system. “This system is virtually button free and represents an entirely new way for drivers to control their car and access a range of Internet-based products and services,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design of Volvo Cars. The designers and engineers behind Volvo’s all-new XC90 have completely re-conceived the way drivers operate their cars by dispensing with the normal array of buttons and replacing them with a large tablet-like touch screen, a head-up display and thumb controls on the steering wheel.

Volvo’s new interface, part of ‘Sensus’, incorporates the latest touch screen hardware and software to allow drivers to build an instinctive understanding of how the system works, where the controls are located and how to operate them. The all-new Volvo XC90 also offers drivers one of the top audio systems available in the automotive world after engineers at the Swedish car company joined forces with their counterparts at the renowned British audio equipment company Bowers & Wilkins.

The new Volvo XC90 is especially known for its safety features including a few ”world-firsts”.  Volvo named it ”the safest SUV” on the market at the moment. The car offers a world-first road departure protection and developed Safe Positioning to address these situations. Volvo’s Safe Positioning capability means that in a run-off or road departure scenario, the all-new Volvo XC90 detects what is happening and the front safety belts are tightened to keep the occupants in position. The belts are firmly tightened as long as the car is in motion. To help prevent spinal injuries, energy-absorbing functionality between the seat and seat frame minimises the vertical force on occupants if the car encounters a hard landing during an accident. This system is capable of reducing the vertical occupant forces by a third, and thereby drastically reducing the risk of spinal injuries.

The XC90 also offers a world-first auto brake system. The all-new Volvo XC90 is the first car in the world with technology that features automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. This is a common scenario at busy city crossings as well as on highways, where the speed limits are higher. The all-new Volvo XC90 detects a potential crash and brakes automatically in order to avoid a collision or mitigate the consequences of a crash.

The all-new Volvo XC90 offers a range of two-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrains, all of which provide a combination of performance and fuel-efficiency. The top of the range XC90 T8 Twin Engine, which combines a two-litre, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor, offers around 295kW with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 60 g/km.

All-New Volvo XC90 Range: Full range details and pricing will be available closer to the local launch, but the pricing is expected to start at just under R800 000.





Tips for driving in rain and stormy conditions

A cold front has hit Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape area, and it feels like winter is starting all over again. With the cold comes the stormy rain and it’s very important that all motorists drive carefully and stay safe on the roads. Here are our top 11 tips for safe driving on wet roads:

1. Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times and don’t get distracted by things such as your cellphone. This is no time for texting – there is never time for texting when driving!

2. Turn on those headlights!!

3. Keep a minimum of a good three-car length from the car in front of you. Stopping suddenly on a wet road is not the same as stopping when it’s dry.

4. Drive at or below the speed limit. You should be able to see far enough in front of you to appropriately make driving decisions. Like we mentioned, it takes longer to stop or adjust in wet weather.

5. Always avoid flooded roads. (If you HAVE TO drive on a flooded road, see our guide on how to drive safely through flooded roads.)

6. Always make sure your wipers are in working condition.

7. Approach bridges, shady areas and overpasses with caution as they might still be wet even though the rest of the road seems dry.

8. Beware of hydroplaning (when your car tyres lose contact with the road and slide on a thin layer of water). If you think your car is hydroplaning, ease your foot off the accelerator and avoid sudden steering or braking!

9. Be aware of the road surface on which you are travelling. Deep shade can obscure hazards that could cause an accident.

10. Use a rain repellent product on side windows and mirrors to clear standing raindrops.

11. Don’t follow large trucks or buses too closely. The spray created by their large tyres reduces your vision. Take care when passing them as well; if you must pass, do so quickly and safely.

Mechanic in a garage

R8.5bn worth of vehicles are stolen and hijacked in SA annually

There are a lot of hijacking and vehicle-theft incidents happening around us on a daily basis, but few people know exactly what a big impact this has. The CEO of the South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB) stated that a staggering R8.5bn worth of vehicles are stolen and hijacked in SA annually. That is a huge amount of cars and money!

The majority of these cars get taken across borders to neighbouring countries where syndicates are making huge profits and South Africans are footing the bill. Of the R8.5 bn worth of vehicles that get stolen, R4.9bn worth are taken across the border, R3.1 bn stay in SA as ”cloned vehicles” and R514 m end up in ”chop shops” across the country.

“Today, tech-enabled syndicates have upped their game and have the ability to take over the identity of the vehicle owner in numerous scams. Panelbeating shops fall prey to this, as criminals impersonate the vehicle owner, pay the excess of the claim at the shop and drive off with the vehicle,” stated Hugo Van Zyl, CEO of the South African Insurance Crime Bureau.

During 2013, approximately 40 000 stolen vehicles re-appeared into the system (cloned vehicles), costing a fortune for the insurance industry to pay out claims where they were unaware that these vehicles were in fact cloned. “When you insure a cloned vehicle, insurance companies don’t have to pay out, because the incorrect vehicle is reflected on the books,” he said.

They are also warning motorists to be on the lookout for different types of scams. These scams predominantly take place on social media like Facebook. One such scam is where you as a car owner might complain publicly on a car manufacturer’s Facebook page and you get an email from the car manufacturing company saying they will take a look at your vehicle – the next thing you know your car gets stolen by a syndicate acting as the person from the manufacturer.

Be aware of scams and be vigilant on our roads!


Motorists try to get out of speeding fines using very creative excuses

A man desperate to get to a toilet and another with a crying little child in the car were arrested for speeding on the East Rand on Sunday.

The metro police said, “A 21-year-old driver was caught going 202km/h in a 120km/h zone in his BMW near Alberton. For travelling at such a high speed, the BMW driver used the reason that the reason he was rushing was because he urgently needed to use the toilet.”

Police had chased him after he ignored instructions to stop. The spokesman said, “Ekurhuleni bike squad had to hit speeds of between 280 and 290km/h to apprehend him.”

One speeding motorist used his poor daughter as an excuse. A Polo driver who said his daughter’s crying prompted him to “press hard on the pedal” was arrested for zipping along at 175km/h on the same road. Two other drivers, who registered speeds of 198km/h and 182km/h, said they were “going to a family meeting” and “late for an appointment”.

This just shows that you should take speeding seriously. The BMW driver was denied bail and was due to appear in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Aug 25 2014. The other three were charged with reckless or negligent driving and released on bail of R500 to R1000. If you were wondering about speeding fines, check out our article on things you need to know about fines.