Tag Archives: safety

Safety first: What you need to know about airbags_istock

Safety first: What you need to know about airbags

They have become a de facto safety feature in cars today and saved countless lives since being introduced in the 1970s. Yet while tyres, wheels and safety belts generate a lot of press, many of us know precious little about one of our cars’ most essential attributes.

Also known as a ‘Supplementary Restraint System’ or SRS, you will usually find airbags installed in the steering wheel, dashboard or in the sides of the car’s interior. In the event of a collision or sudden change in speed, these simple yet effective buffers deploy automatically, significantly mitigating the impact on both drivers and passengers.

While this all sounds simple enough, it is well worth knowing how your airbags work ahead of time, so as to ensure they are not only in good working order, but also to prevent this safety system from backfiring.

MiWay shares 4 key things you need to know about your airbags:

They only work once

When airbags deploy, they instantaneously fill with gas for 0.2 – 0.5 seconds before slowly deflating, forming a protective barrier between you and the hard parts of your vehicle like the steering wheel. Once deployed though, airbags will not work again, so if yours are activated for any reason, it is important to ensure they are replaced speedily.

They require some maintenance

While airbags are relatively low maintenance when compared to other parts of the car, they do require attention from time to time. So keep an eye on your dashboard lights, and be sure to check in with a mechanic should your SRS light remain on. This means that your airbags could be in need of servicing or even replacement. While this is unlikely, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

They can be deadly to children

The impact of an airbag can in fact be deadly to small children, in some cases causing severe injury. As such, it is important to make sure the little ones are buckled up safely in the back seat until at least the age of 12, and ensure you have a booster seat for kids under the age of 8.

They aren’t a seatbelt replacement

While airbags certainly help in providing a protective barrier, they should not in any way be regarded as a replacement for a seatbelt. Airbags are designed as a last line of defence, rather than as a primary safety mechanism, so if you want to keep you and your family safe, make sure you are buckled up – even in the back seat.

What are the worst driving sins in South Africa_istock

What are the worst driving sins in South Africa?

In England, research done by Leasecar.uk has revealed that drivers in London are the least knowledgeable about car maintenance, with 1 in 5 Londoners having knowingly driven a car that failed its MOT. The survey found that, among drivers in London:

  • Less than half (48%) know how to change their car’s headlights
  • Almost a quarter (23%) think it’s legal to drive a car with the doors removed

Also read: 5 types of drivers to avoid in traffic 

We’ve listed some of the worst driving sins below and we want to know what South Africans are most guilty of. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone, but we do suggest that you check yourself before you wreck yourself and other road users…

Click here to vote. 

Across the UK, drivers in Northern Ireland are the least knowledgeable about car maintenance. 1 in 3 Northern Irish drivers have knowingly driven a car that failed its MOT. Among drivers in Northern Ireland:

  • 25% “never check their tyres”
  • 75% don’t know to change their car’s headlights

Drivers in the East Midlands are the UK’s safest and most knowledgeable, followed by drivers in East Anglia and the North West.

OTHER FINDINGS

The survey also revealed that, across the UK:

  • 20% of drivers don’t know how to add antifreeze to their car
  • 60% don’t know how to change their headlights
  • 15% have “no idea what’s checked during an MOT”
  • 15% “never check their tyres”

Tim Alcock,  Head of Online at Leasecar.uk, commented on the findings:

“The survey reveals a shocking lack of knowledge among British drivers about basic aspects of car maintenance and safety.

“Not only is ignoring the basics dangerous, it’s also expensive. In the long run, those little problems get worse and turn into big ones, so failing to keep your car in decent shape will cost you both time and money.

“With a little more knowledge about car maintenance and safety, British drivers could save themselves a lot of money over the years.”

LeaseCar have answered the most commonly-asked questions about car maintenance and safety on their website. You can read those, along with more details about the survey results, here .

 

Life saving anti-hijack tips for women_istock

Life saving anti-hijack tips for women

Hijacking in South Africa is not uncommon, which means that it’s important that every driver has an anti-hijack plan of action.

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has a team of certified professionals who train drivers around the country as part of its Driving Skills For Life (DSFL) programme. While many tertiary driving courses focus on performance dynamics at race tracks, the DSFL instructors impart invaluable knowledge for everyday driving scenarios.

“It’s no secret that women are easy targets when driving alone, however these tips apply to all drivers,” says Maja Smith, Product Communications Manager at FMCSA. “Recent events in the news have highlighted the importance of equipping drivers with the requisite skills.”

Ford provided us with some useful tips to follow when driving:
– Remaining alert to surroundings at all times – especially at intersections and in suburbs
-Being on the lookout for suspicious activities and vehicles
-Preparing to take evasive action
-Maintaining ample following distances
-Allowing for escape routes

DSFL instructors also have information for drivers who find themselves in dangerous situations involving a hijacker:
-Remain calm
-Do not make sudden gestures
-Avoid eye contact – except to identify
-Comply with hijacker’s demands
-Assist children to get out of the vehicle
-Move away slowly

Check out some of our other articles for more anti-hijack tips and emergency numbers to always have on you.

Seven Road Safety Tips for the Long Weekend_istock

Seven Road Safety Tips for the Long Weekend

The period between April and May 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

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 driving over the speed limit, but here are three rules of the road commonly broken, 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)

A journey into the future of "Audi Intelligence"

A journey into the future of “Audi Intelligence”

The Audi of the future will continually learn new things and develop its capabilities to interplay with its surroundings and other road users. In this way, the technology adapts itself to the individual needs of the driver.

Audi AI will change how we interact with our vehicles and improve the quality of our time spent on-board. The car will become a “third living space” alongside our homes and workplaces. Individual customer benefits are Audi’s focus, as is the clear relation to mobility. The advantages of Audi AI for the customer are the intelligent systems and technologies that focus on time, safety, efficiency and individual adaptability. 

Time:

  • The integration of communications media in the vehicle continues to advance. An Audi will be able to give the driver of the future the “25th hour. This allows people to use their time productively while the car drives itself.
  • Functions such as the new Audi AI traffic jam pilot or piloted parking make it possible for the driver to experience a different stay on-board the fully connected vehicle than what was previously possible.

Safety:

  • Driver error accounts for up to 90% of all road accidents.
  • In the future, Audi AI will detect the surroundings of the driver and anticipate accidents before they occur.

Efficiency:

  • Extensively networked and piloted vehicles use space and energy more efficiently, which has ecological and economic benefits thanks to targeted guidance of traffic flow.
  • The car-to-x technology allows the intelligent networking of road users and the infrastructure so that the vehicle can calculate optimum diversions and avoid traffic jams. 

Customisation:

  • By means of Audi AI, the vehicle gets to know its occupant’s habits personally.
  • Man, and machine communicate with one another to create trust and facilitate the smooth running of daily routine. Thanks to intelligent algorithm, the vehicle’s technology can independently and adaptively interact with the driver.

Extensively networked, automated and electrified – these characteristics define the Audi of the future

Via: Audi