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So, you’re travelling over Easter… the most dangerous time on our roads in South Africa with just over 510 fatalities in 2018 alone… which is a 14% increase from the previous year. This is by far the worst time to be travelling on our South African roads, well according to my me that is. What do you think? Comment below!
Well, here I am, with a 2-year-old, and we are going to risk our lives and hit the road over Easter because family, has become rather important lately and nothing excites the kids more like finding Easter Eggs/chocolate in the garden with cousins and friends.
To get their safely, here are a few tips I thought I would share to keep not only you safe, but everyone in the car safe; especially with kids these days in a digital and mobile environment.
Happy Easter and please, be careful out there and don’t forget who this special holiday is actually about. #Jesus
Tips for a safe and enjoyable road trip:
1. ALWAYS WEAR A SEAT BELT!
This is the number one rule!!! I cannot express this enough. A seat belt should be on before the car is even switched on to run… and removed only when the car has arrived at its destination and has been switched off.
Please, also, NEVER share a seat belt! Two kids should never buckle up as a pair.
2. GO FOR A CAR SERVICE OR CAR CHECK-UP!
For smooth sailing on the road and overall sanity, make sure your car is in good working condition! For the sake of everyone in the car, get a qualified mechanic to check that the tires, battery, belts, fluids and air conditioner is working properly.
3. GET A GOOD NIGHT'S REST!
As I mentioned earlier, 510 road fatalities last year alone! You need to be wide awake. I always tell my friends and family; its not you, its everyone around you.
Only drive if you feel well rested and by rule of thumb, stop every two hours to stretch your legs. Not only for snacks and potty breaks but also for fun. Kids usually love the cool play grounds at some stops and you can also tidy up the back seat and prepare for the next round of driving. I always carry a extra plastic packet for all the wrappers and juice bottles; keep you car tidy too.
If you feel you need to rest and you are a bit tired, please hand the keys over to the next responsible adult. Also try take your trip while there is light so you can see in front of you. Day time driving is much safer.
A good way to make sure you stay awake is to make sure you sit comfortably. Adjust your posture and make a conscious effort to sit up straight. Also make sure you have eaten a snack or had a meal.
4. BACKSEAT DRIVERS
Children under 12 should always sit in the backseat. If they sit in front, the passenger-side air bags could cause some serious harm to your child especially if they don’t have a bigger body to handle that impact from all sides.
Also make sure the booster seat is secure and that you have checked the doors; child lock is very important because you don’t want your child jumping or falling out of a moving car.
You would also want to make sure the backseat area is safe and doesn’t contain poisonous substances, sharp objects, choking hazards and lose materials. Pack all your valuables in the trunk and keep them locked up.
5. KEEP CALM!
Everyone, especially kids, need to understand the importance of keeping calm and keeping low-key in the back. The driver cannot drive and focus when kids are unbuckled, jumping up and down and distracting everyone in the car. This is a recipe for disaster.
6. NO MOBILES WHILE YOU DRIVE!
Please, for the safety of everyone in the car and the families around you, ignore your phone until you get to your destination. Don’t drive and text! What I mean by this is, let your family know you have left before you start your car and, on your way, then pack your phone away. This will also ensure you have a fully charged phone when you do run into an emergency.
Even if you have a hand free kit, talking on the phone while you are driving is dangerous. You are not fooling anyone.
Did you know? The region of the brain that processes moving images decreases its activity by up to one third when you’re listening to the other side of the line.
7. PACK AN EMERGENCY KIT!
Just in case! You never know if you might get a flat wheel or something goes wrong and you are left stranded and injured… especially with kids.
Make sure you have water, warm blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, flares, tools to change a flat tire, a fully charged cell phone (and charging cables) and a first aid kit. When you pull over, move your vehicle off the road. Never park on the shoulder or in the breakdown lane for any other reason except for an emergency.
It would also be a great idea to be part of a roadside assistance plan/policy and you know who to call in case of an emergency.
8. DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!
If you don’t know this rule, SHAME ON YOU! Never drink alcohol before or during your trip.
Also, don’t speed! Know the rules of the road and try be a considerate and pleasant driver so we all can drive together and get to our destinations safely.
I hope these tips help you in your road trip and if you have any more tips for the rest of us, please feel free to comment below. Take care, be blessed and have a safe and enjoyable Easter!