Tag Archives: safety

smoke-in-car

Scotland bans smoking in vehicles with children present

In October 2015 the banning of smoking in vehicles with children under the age of 18 came into effect in both England and Wales. Scotland has now jumped on the bandwagon with the banning implemented by their government this week.

This ban forms part of the Scottish government’s plans to lower the smoking rate to less than 5% in 2034, in the hopes that it will eventually lead to a “tobacco-free” generation.

Those who disobey the law will be fined £100, that’s R1 753.73 on the spot. If the case goes to court, they will need to pay £1,000, which is R17 534.79.

South African tobacco legislation states, “No person may smoke in any vehicle or car when a child under the age of 12 years is present in that vehicle.”

An overwhelming amount of research has been done on the effects of smoking, secondhand smoking and more specifically smoking in vehicles in the presence of minors.

Also read: Car safety tips for children

Here are some of the risks to children associated with smoking in vehicles:

Smoking is dangerous to anyone but more specifically to children as they are still developing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children are at risk of increased rates of lower respiratory illness, middle ear effusion, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome.

Children under the age of six who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of getting respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

The AAP concluded that exposure during childhood to tobacco smoke may lead to the development of cancer in adulthood.

Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health found “alarming” levels of secondhand smoke and concluded, “smoking in cars under typical driver and traffic conditions provides potentially unsafe secondhand smoke exposure”.

A survey released in 2013 found that 82% of American adults prefer prohibiting smoking in vehicles with children present. Should this law be implemented in South Africa next?

Source: AFP and Tobacco Free Kids

Pretoria woman leaves 4-year-old in car while shopping

Now that the holiday season is in full swing and lots of Christmas shopping needs to be done, we know how going to the mall with your child can often be difficult.

With toddlers who are exploring and wanting everything their eyes meet, it is not uncommon to see an unhappy (crying) child at the mall. Unfortunately not enough South African shopping centres have facilities to keep children busy while their parents are filling the trollies.

A Pretoria woman did something many people think is okay when it’s absolutely not. The unidentified woman went to Tiffany’s shopping centre on the Dolphin Coast and left her four-year-old son in the car, according to News24.

The incident occurred last Friday when a concerned citizen noticed the child and started communicating with him through a small gap left open in the car’s window. After waiting for 10 minutes she then contacted emergency services, said IPSS Medical Response Spokesperson Paul Herbst.

Herbst added that after the woman had returned to her son and vehicle, she responded that she does this all the time and it is perfectly safe before she got in her car and sped off.

In 2014, News24 reported on the deaths of three children who suffocated after being left in a car. Children who are left in cars are at risk of suffocating and heatstroke, among other things. In the United States, a reported 39 children have died due to heatstroke after being left in a car this year.

Heatstroke can damage the brain and other body organs – which can lead to death. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, the temperature inside of a car can increase by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes . Cracking a window doesn’t help the temperature from rising to a dangerous level.

Also read: What should you do if you spot a child alone in a car? 

Here are 5 reasons not to leave your children in the car according to Michelle LaRowe, writer of ‘Parenting’.

1. It is scary for a child to be left alone.
2. A car’s temperature can change quickly. It can become too hot or too cold in minutes.
3. You could lock your keys in the car, along with your child.
4. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 30 children die each year when they are alone in the car. One of those 30 could be yours.
5. In some countries, it’s illegal. It can be considered a misdemeanour offense and if your child is hurt or worse, it can become a felony.

jaywalking

3 rules of the road commonly broken

We know of the general laws that get broken on the road like people not wearing safety belts or people speeding, but here are three laws that people generally break when it comes to driving without even realising it.

Here are the top 3:

  1. Jaywalking on highways

This is actually very dangerous and you do not want to find yourself walking in a place where cars drive 120km/h. In terms of the National Road Traffic Act, no person is allowed on the freeway on foot. According to AA, there are three exceptions to this rule: The first exception applies if you are within an area reserved for the stopping or parking of vehicles, indicated by an appropriate road traffic sign. The second is if there is a cause beyond a person’s control – for instance, if your car breaks down or you are involved in an accident on the highway. The third and final exception is if you are performing service in the Citizen Force as per the Defence Act. This is allowed between the junction of an off-ramp and the junction of an on-ramp on the left-hand side of the roadway, unless a Road Traffic sign forbids the presence of such person on such freeway or junction.

2. Using fog lights when there is no fog

The law states: “No person shall operate on a public road, a motor vehicle while any fog lamp fitted to such vehicle is lit, except in conditions of poor visibility caused by snow, fog, mist, dust or smoke.” Therefore, it’s illegal to have your fog lamps switched on when visibility is clear. Your normal headlights are the ones that should be used for the dark.

3. Driving in the yellow lane

No, I don’t mean if you just temporarily move into the yellow lane to let a car overtake you- there are some people who actually drive there! Legally, the only time you are allowed to use the emergency lane is if you have a real emergency, such as if your car breaks down or if you have a medical emergency. On a freeway, the emergency lane is reserved for emergencies only like fire-fighting vehicles, emergency response vehicles, rescue vehicles and ambulances, so if you need to use it then the purpose needs to be for the same kind of reasons.

(Source: AA and Carmagblog)

tyre tread

Safety first: How to check your tyre tread

Good tread keeps you in control of your car by helping with braking, steering and accelerating. It’s essential for grip, especially in wet weather. A low tyre tread won’t disperse water adequately and could cause you to lose control of your car. Tread also protects the tyre casing from punctures.  The legal limit for tread is 1,6mm but it’s a good idea never to go below 3mm. You can monitor your tread with a tread-wear indicator – a small bar with a depth of 1,6mm. Once your tread is in line with the indicator, it’s high time for a change.

 


Child waiting in the car for mother

5 reasons why you shouldn’t leave your child in a car alone

It’s the school holidays so you will be spending some more time with your children over the next few weeks, or maybe even babysitting – but be warned – do not leave your child in the car. Even if you quickly run out and get something in the shop, this can be very dangerous. In the United States, a reported 39 children have died due to heatstroke after being left in a car. According to noheatstroke.org this number has increased from the 24 in 2015.

Firstly, leaving your children in the car is unsafe and secondly they can overheat. Hundreds of children each year are involved in potentially fatally accidents when left unattended in a vehicle. Whether it’s from gear-shifted crashes, sweltering temperatures, locking parents out of a car, boot entrapments, or playing with windows and getting limbs (or necks even) caught, horrific accidents can and do happen in a blink of an eye.

One second is all it takes for something horrific to happen. Here are 5 reasons NOT to leave your children in the car according to Michelle LaRowe, writer of Parenting

1. It is scary for a child to be left alone.
2. A car’s temperature can change quickly. It can become too hot or too cold in minutes.
3. You could lock your keys in the car, along with your child.
4. According to Safe Kids, 30 children die each year when they are alone in the car. One of those 30 could be yours.
5. In some countries, it’s illegal. It can be considered a misdemeanour offense and if your child is hurt or worse, it can become a felony.

So parents, rather be safe and take your child everywhere with you!

 

Woman reversing

5 easy steps for driving in reverse

Whether you need to reverse in to a parking, exit a narrow dead end or just feel like going backwards for a change, reverse gear is the solution. If you don’t feel that confident driving in reverse, don’t stress. Just check out these 5 easy steps for driving in reverse to make it easy for you.

5 STEPS:

1. The first step is quite logical. You need to put your car in reverse gear to make people around you aware that you are going to be reversing.

2. Adjust your mirrors. Adjusting your mirrors will let you have better control on your car’s exterior. Some people don’t touch them at all while others like to lower the passenger side mirror so it covers the last wheel. It all comes down to personal preference and experience. With time you’ll learn your car dimensions and need to adjust the mirrors no longer.

3. Either turn around or don’t. The big dilemma when driving in reverse: should you look in mirrors only or should you turn around so to look through the last window? Turning around is how they teach you in driving school but is it really that necessary? While looking through the last window will usually give you a better feel about real distances, it leaves your driver’s side uncovered which means that you’ll have to constantly turn back to see how you’re doing on that side. In this case you should just choose the option you are most comfortable with.

4. Drive slowly. The reverse gear is usually the strongest one on your car; this means it’ll also give you the strongest kick and will start way faster than your first gear. Having that in mind, you should dose your power reasonably.

5. ‘Right is left and left is right‘. While many people say this when mentioning driving in reverse, it is true only if you picture your car turning the front all the time. Going in reverse and turning the wheel to left will make your car go left, because you want your back to go left. In response to your back going left, your front will go right, but that’s only because the steering turns the front wheels.

If you are someone who often struggles with parking as well, check out our easy guide to parallel parking.