WOW's Winter Holiday Road Safety Guide

The number one rule is always BUCKLE UP!

The winter holidays are almost here and whether you have plans to hit the road to escape the city, or your journeys are limited to your home town, holiday driving in winter requires some extra attention.

WOW has some advice for all our holiday drivers this winter:

Driving in the wet

With heavy rains likely to hit certain parts of the country during the June/July months, drivers need to safeguard and prepare themselves for slippery and wet road surfaces. It only takes 15cm of water to lift some cars off the road and if you start to hydroplane, slowly take your foot off the accelerator and focus on steering straight. Never brake. Gently steer in the direction you do want to go until you regain control.

Driving with kids

Children are the most vulnerable of all road users so the number one rule when driving with precious cargo is always: BUCKLE UP! Make it a rule in your house that whenever you never start your car unless all children (and adults) have their seatbelts on, and that everyone is sitting in the correct positions.

According to Ford South Africa, once they reach the manufacturer’s weight limit on their safety seat, children under the age of 12 or shorter than 1.5m should graduate to a booster seat, preferably in the rear, used with the vehicle’s built-in seatbelts. The lower part of the seatbelt should go across your child’s pelvis, not their stomach. The shoulder belt should sit on their chest and collarbone, and not touch their face or neck. And it should never be put behind your child’s back, or under their arm. 

Driving with pets

For many of us, our pets are just as much a part of the family as kids are, and we want them with us, whether it’s to the shops or away on holiday. However, travelling with your pet can be a potential hazard for both the animal and the owner, if the correct restraints are not put in place.

Here are some tips from Arrive Alive for retraining your pet during your travels:

It is of the utmost importance that the driver of the vehicle is not distracted by fellow passengers – irrespective of whether these are humans or animals!

  • Net pet barriers can keep animals in the safe area of your vehicle and keep them from distracting the driver.
  • Truly pampered pets can ride in style in booster seats, right next to their owners.
  • These pet travel seats are supported from below, so your pet has a great view along with a comfortable ride. There are straps to secure your pet to the basket of the booster seat.
  • There are various sizes of padded pet vehicle safety harnesses that secure your pet to the vehicle’s seat belt system.
  • The safety harness keeps your pet from distracting the driver and keeps your pet secure in the event of a sudden stop.
  • If you are involved in a car accident, the restraining device will keep your companion animal from crashing into the front window or car seat.
Pre-trip inspections

Before you head off make sure you check out the weather reports and consider how these will affect road conditions and the way your car behaves.

Here are some important things to include in your pre-trip inspection:

Clear visibility is vital so make sure you clean and de-mist your windscreen and side mirrors. Your windscreen wipers also need to be in good working order and your windscreen washer fluid topped up.

Check your tyre tread and pressure. Your tyres are the most important components of your vehicle and vital for staying in control on wet roads. Make sure they’re properly inflated and that they retain plenty of tread groove depth to help maintain traction by dispersing water on the road.

Make sure that your car has been recently serviced, in addition to doing your own regular checks. A professional inspection will ensure that your windscreen wipers, front and rear defrosters, car battery, oil levels, anti-freeze, lights, and safety system are all in good working order.

WOW wishes all our readers a happy and safe holiday on the roads this winter.