Tag Archives: safety

car in rain

8 tips for driving in the rain

Winter is fast approaching (at least that’s how it feels here in Cape Town), and it seems that every year when it does, suddenly everyone has forgotten how to drive in rainy weather. Here are some simple things to remember.

  • Before the worst of the rain starts, do an inspection of your vehicle and check tyres, lights and wiper blades to ensure that you are set for the season
  • Drive with your headlights on to increase visibility
  • Wet road surfaces can cause tyres to hydroplane (skim on a thin layer of water). Keep a large distance between you and the vehicle in front of you as it will take your car a little bit longer to come to a complete stop
  • Be more alert as pedestrians and animals will be rushing to get out of the cold and wet weather and could run across roads without much hesitation
  • Keep your phone charged – the chances of being involved in an accident increases when visibility is poor due to bad weather. You may need to contact someone in case of an emergency
  • Remember that driving behind large trucks means you get a lot of spray from the wheels. Keep a large distance between yourself and a truck and make sure that you can see their mirrors. If not, they can’t see you
  • This seems obvious, but slow down. You have more control of your car this way. Also, when it comes to corners, take it slowly.
  • When the rain first starts, it loosens up the dirt and grime on the road. Be extra cautious as it makes the road slippery

Just be extra careful out there!

N2

A new reason to be careful on the N2

According to IOL, the City of Cape Town has warned motorists traveling on the N2 to be aware of a new robbery ploy in which concrete blocks are placed in the road to force cars to stop before motorists are robbed of their belongings.

We are pretty sure this has been happening for some time already, remember the story we did a while back on the N2 and then of course the dangerous R300? Either way, we need to be aware on these roads.

IOL quoted Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, “Just before midnight on Sunday, two City traffic officers attached to the Ghost Squad were driving along the N2 in the direction of Somerset West when they noticed a Toyota Tazz near the R300 off-ramp with its hazard lights on.

The officers also spotted three men running towards the vehicle and, as they stopped to investigate, they heard screams coming from the vehicle. The officers chased after the suspects and made a radio call for assistance from the South African Police Service, but the suspects disappeared between nearby structures.

The officers then returned to assist the female motorist who reported that she had been assaulted and robbed of her handbag and cellphone. The motorist declined medical assistance and the officers changed her flat tyre so that she could proceed home.”

Smith added that the officers found three other vehicles on a nearby painted island, all with flat tyres and thankfully provided assistance to the drivers. “They also removed concrete blocks from the roadway. thought to have been placed there by the three suspects,” says Smith.

“I want to commend our officers for rendering assistance while on their way home. It is clear that the criminals responsible took advantage of the misty weather conditions we’ve been experiencing in recent days. Most drivers would struggle to see an obstacle placed in the road at night, but with the cover of mist it becomes even more difficult. I appeal to motorists to please be extra careful when driving at night. We have had numerous engagements with the Western Cape Government, the South African Police Service and the South African National Roads Agency Limited about safety on the N2 as it is evident that criminals will continue targeting motorists for as long as they think they can get away with it.

From our side, we have tried to divert more resources to help patrol the road, but we have limited staff numbers and, of late, much of our time has been spent on the sustained land invasions as well as assisting with quelling gang violence,” he said.

Here is how you can be safe on the N2 and also, make sure you have these emergency numbers on speed dial.

Source: IOL
Image Source: Mervyn Hector – Flickr

uber

Another reason to use Uber

We have been promoting Uber for some time and not because we are paid to but because it is a service we truly believe in. I personally use Uber almost daily and can confidently say it is one of the safest ways to get around. Never have I felt unsafe in an Uber  and now they are making it even safer with phone number anonymization.

Phone number anonymization is a service that hides you and your driver’s real cell phone numbers

“In an effort to uphold our gold standard of safety and reliability, we have made some changes to the rider and driver connection process.”

  1. Drivers will ALWAYS see the same number for all riders- your actual number will not be visible to the driver.
  2. If you or your driver attempt to call each other, our software will connect you just like normal.
  3. You will no longer be able to SMS a driver and your driver will be unable to SMS you, voice calls only (standard rates apply).
  4. Shortly after a trip is complete, your driver will no longer be able to call you.

This way, both riders and drivers will be unable to store personal cell phone numbers.  You’ll only be contactable by your driver between the time you request your trip, and shortly after the trip ends using the Twilio number.

Go UBER!

 

family-on-road-trip-playlist

Seven Road Safety Tips for the Long Weekend

The Easter long weekend is traditionally one of those times when South African families from across the country pack up their cars, bakkies, buses and caravans, and hit the long road. It’s also a particularly treacherous time for those on the roads – the Easter holiday is notorious for the high fatality rate on our roads.

“To curb fatigue when embarking on long, cross-country journeys, motorists are cautioned to take breaks every 200km and to switch drivers often,” says Eugene Herbert, Project Coordinator for Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) South Africa, Ford’s responsible driver training programme.

“Driving Skills for Life adopts a multidisciplinary approach to training of drivers with a focus on both safety and eco-driving that both fleet and private drivers can benefit from. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top safety tips worth considering before you head out. Some may even give you pause for thought.”

These are Ford’s top tips for road safety for the long weekend:

#1: Check it out

Give your vehicle a thorough once-over before you hit the open road. Ensure the wipers and lights are in working order and carefully scan the tyres (including the often-neglected spare wheel). Legally, in South Africa, the minimum tread depth is no less than 1mm, which along with lumps and gashes on the sidewalls make tyres more susceptible to blowouts.

Ensure that you have the necessary tyre-changing equipment and always check your tyre pressures when the tyres are cold. Remember that vehicles under heavy load usually require higher pressures. For the guidelines relating to your car’s particular tyre, consult the owner’s manual or the information sticker usually found on the B-pillar at the driver’s door.

#2: Load up

Don’t overload your vehicle. Not only can this obscure your rear visibility but it can also affect your vehicle’s stability and its ability to steer and stop; cause premature brake and tyre wear; and increase your fuel consumption.

Where possible, pack heavy items in the boot and make sure to pack belongings securely. Sliding loose objects can distract and, if harsh braking is required, unsecured items could fly forward and hit occupants sitting in the car.

#3: Buckle up

Yes, it’s one of the most basic safety details, but according to the results of an independent study conducted on the N4 highway by the Road Safety Foundation, only 36.9% of drivers wore their seatbelts, while 30.8% of passengers were clipped in.* Childsafe suggests children be strapped into a suitable car seat from birth to ten years.

When used correctly, seatbelts reduce the risk of death and injury in a crash. Also, if your vehicle is equipped with airbags, which provide additional impact protection in crashes, your bags probably won’t deploy if your seatbelt is not secured. Food for thought: rear-seat passengers who are unrestrained often injure or kill other occupants when they are flung forward or to the side on impact. Two seconds is really all it takes to secure the vehicle “accessory” that contributes so significantly to saving lives.

#4: Be defensive

Defensive driving is one of the tenets of South Africa’s driver training curriculum, but is not readily practised. Plan a defence or exit strategy so that you’re prepared when dangers present themselves. This is also why a safe following distance is important. A longer following distance – 3 seconds on dry roads is considered safe.- it increases your line of sight, which will give you more opportunities to spot and avoid potential problems. And if you can’t see the mirrors of the vehicle in front of you, that driver can’t see you.

#5: All-weather driving

Always adjust your driving to suit the road and weather conditions. When driving on wet roads ensure the following:

extended following distance as roads may be slippery
turn on your headlights ( if not on already )
avoid puddles which may conceal potholes
should your car aquaplane (when water is caught between the road surface and your tyres, causing a loss of traction), don’t brake nor steer. Remove your foot from the accelerator until you feel your tyres make contact with the road again and then continue at a safe speed.

#6: Minimise Distractions

A recent Driver Distraction Survey commissioned by Ford revealed that one in four young drivers in Europe aged between 18 and 24, have taken a selfie, have posted an update to social media or checked social media sites while driving. But distracted driving is not just about motorists’ collective inability to ignore their smartphones when behind the wheel. Other common distractions are “rubbernecking” when passing crash scenes or roadblocks; shaving or applying makeup; tending to children; looking for dropped items; and eating or drinking.

But any driving requires you to remain focused at all times. The AA suggests you ensure children and pets are properly restrained and entertained before you start driving; plan your journey to allow sufficient time to stop and stretch your legs while you enjoy a (soft) drink and a bite to eat; never allow passengers to break your concentration; and avoid using your cell phone when driving. In the United States it is estimated that about 25% of crashes are caused by drivers using cell phones

#7: Extra care required

We all know that the minute you venture out onto the road, you’re taking your life – and the lives of your passengers – into your hands. But there are high-risk periods when, according to the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA), accidents are statistically most likely to occur. These are:

- Between dusk and dawn
- During morning and evening peak traffic periods
- At “closing time” for bars and clubs
- Late in the week and at weekend when the use of alcohol increases

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, the following routes are expected to experience heavier than usual traffic volumes over the Easter long weekend. It would be wise to keep this in mind when planning your journey and practise extra caution when travelling at any time of the day:

N1: Pretoria – Polokwane – Beitbridge

N1: Mangaung – Cape Town

N2: Somerset East – Cape Town

N3: Johannesburg – Durban

N4: Pretoria – Nelspruit – Cape Town

R63: Aberdeen – Beaufort West

 

 

Car accident casualty

The number of road deaths last weekend will shock you

Over the weekend of 27 and 28 March 2015, a shocking number of people died on the roads of the Western Cape – 24 in only one province. Shocking!

This, despite the Western Cape Services’ efforts to protect road users. Arrive Alive reported that, during this same weekend, 26 alcohol blitz roadblocks across the Western Cape saw a total of 3 091 vehicles stopped as part of Provincial Traffic services safety campaign.

A total of 1 740 drivers were screened for (being under suspicion of) driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in 25 arrests.

The highest breath alcohol reading was recorded in Somerset West at 1.04mg/1000ml, which was 5 times the legal limit of 0,24mg/1000ml.

A total of 1 774 vehicles were screened for speeding of which 224 speeding offences were recorded. A total of 280 fines were issued for various traffic violations ranging from driver to vehicle fitness to the amount of R 343 200.

The following areas are where the 24 fatalities took place:

Cape Metropole:

Gordon’s Bay – 1 Driver + 1 Motorcyclist
Observatory – 1 Pedestrian
Sea Point – 1 Pedestrian
Mfuleni – 2 Drivers + 4 Passengers + 1 Pedestrian
Lansdowne – 1 Driver
Goodwood –1 Pedestrian

Cape Winelands/Overberg

De Doorns – 1 Pedestrian
Wolseley – 1 Driver + 3 passengers
Goudini – 1 Pedestrian

West Coast

Citrusdal – 2 Passengers
Hopefield – 1 Pedestrian + 1 Passenger
Saldanha – 1 Driver

Screen_Shot_2015_03_27_at_9.46.56_AM

Are all your tyres identical? If not, you could be in danger

Do you know if all four of your car’s tyres are identical? If not, your life could very well be in danger, especially if you’re driving with a car that doesn’t feature ABS.

Bridgestone tells us why and gives us a few tips:

Bridgestone has advised motorists to ensure all four tyres on their vehicles are of an identical make and tread pattern to ensure best road holding. The tyre company was commenting in the wake of its recent Tyre Check survey which found that tyre-mismatching on vehicles remains a cause of concern.

“Modern vehicles are designed with certain traction characteristics which depend on each tyre having similar performance,” said Bridgestone’s General Manager for Field Engineering and Technical Services, Hiroshi Nakanishi. “When a vehicle is fitted with tyres of varying makes, sizes or tread patterns, roadholding performance could be affected, and the vehicle’s ABS brakes and stability control may not deliver the levels of safety the driver expects,” he added.

The most dangerous type of tyre mis-matching occurs when different tyres are fitted to the same axle. This can cause the vehicle to pull to one side under braking. On vehicles with ABS, the vehicle can compensate at the expense of longer braking distances, but without ABS, the vehicle may enter a sideways skid under heavy braking.  “Even a small difference in braking traction from one side of the vehicle to the other can affect stability and stopping effectiveness,” he said.

Roadholding can also be affected when one axle is fitted with different tyres to the other. “A vehicle’s road holding characteristics are carefully optimised by engineers, but can be degraded when tyres are mis-matched front to back,” Nakanishi said. “It is rare that different types of tyres give exactly the same performance, so if a vehicle has less effective tyres at the rear than at the front, the vehicle will be more prone to a rear-wheel skid than it would be with four identical tyres,” he said. “Again, modern stability control systems may be able to compensate for this at the cost of reduced road holding, but on a vehicle without stability control, the driver could enter a skid which leads to loss of control.”

Nakanishi said it was very important for drivers of vehicles which do not have electronic driver assistance like stability control or ABS brakes to ensure all four tyres on the vehicle are identical. “Vehicles like these cannot assist the driver to compensate for tyre mis-matching and there is a higher risk of loss of control under heavy braking or during emergency swerves,” he concluded.