The holiday season in South Africa is upon us, and not only does that mean tanning on the beach, braai’s in the sun and hot summer’s days, but also an influx of cars travelling all around the country to reach their destinations.

These travels involve long journeys, roadside stops and long queues at toll stations, so we’ve devised this Holiday Travel 101 guide for you before you head to your well-deserved summer break.

Essentials to check before you set off

We compiled a few important safety checks that you need to do before setting off on your journey.

  1. Check the engine

Engine oil, water levels for both the engine and wipers as well as your brake fluid should be refilled and full before setting off. Failing to this could result in engine failure, and turn you dream holiday into a nightmare. Also ensure your battery is still good, because the only thing that can ruin a beautiful view of the ocean is when the family needs to get out and push the car for you to go anywhere.

  1. Wipers

Over the years we’ve heard that you should inspect your wipers for the four s’s: streaking, squeaking, slipping, and skipping. If they do anyone of these four, replace them immediately and ensure you can travel safely no matter what the elements throw at you.

  1. Take it for a bath

Dirty windows and mirrors increase the glare from lights when driving at night, which can result in extremely dangerous driving conditions. Clean it up nicely, not only for safety but for the sake of everyone who’s travelling with you.

  1. Check the tyres

Before getting on the long road to wherever your going, ensure that your tyres are inflated to the recommended pressures (found inside the door of either the driver or passenger). Also be sure to check the spare wheel, for incase something happens on the road, and you need it.

  1. Check your lights

From front to back, test all your lights to ensure they are in working condition. It goes without saying that the lights on your vehicle are extremely important to deal with road conditions that can change multiple times on long journeys.

  1. Don’t overload

Every vehicle has a maximum capacity that shouldn’t be exceeded. You can find your vehicle’s maximum load on the inside of either the driver or passenger door. Overloaded vehicles are extremely unstable on the road, so for your safety, don’t pack those extra pair of shoes that might/might not wear.

  1. Emergency items

Unfortunately, you can’t plan for everything. There are various lists available online of essential emergency items that need to be kept in your car while travelling. They always feel unnecessary, but they have saved many lives in the past.

When is the best time to head off on your holiday journey?

Let’s compare the best and worst times to travel in 2021:

Worst times:

16 December – This public holiday will have people travelling earlier to take an extra day off for their holidays. 

20 to 24 December – A busy drive time beginning on the Saturday afternoon, extending over the weekend and into Christmas Eve as motorists take to the road for the festive season holidays. 

28 to 31 December – A frustrating time for road users as fellow South Africans leave their holiday destinations, or head out to celebrate the New Year.

10 to 12 January – This is the last weekend peak-travel period when holidaymakers make their way home.

Best times:

Both of these days provide light, congestion-free travelling when many businesses are closed and people spend time at home with family and friends.

25 December – Christmas Day 

26 December – Boxing Day

Which Are The Most Dangerous Times To Drive?

Over December, most crashes occur between the following two time slots:

19:00 and 20:00

22:00 and 23:00

Driving tips for when you’re on the road

Following the tips in this guide will ensure that you get to your destination safely and in as much comfort as possible. From the whole team at We Buy Wheels, we hope that you have an amazing break over the summer and come back rested and excited for the new possibilities of 2022.

  1. Plan ahead.

As most of us use GPS technology to tell us where to drive, so ensuring you have charging devices or alternative mapping options available will save you a lot of headaches and lost miles on the road. If your journey will span over multiple days, knowing where you are going to sleep is very important, so ensure hotel bookings are confirmed before setting off.

  1. Get enough sleep

Getting a full night’s sleep the day before you drive is of utmost importance. Research has shown that being awake for 20 hours can make you as impaired as a person who is deemed legally drunk. 

  1. Keep hydrated

Caffeine is amazing for focus on long trips, but it also acts as a diuretic which means you’re going to get dehydrated. Having enough water and other hydration essentials in the vehicle is very important on a long journey.

  1. Eat right

It’s also important to avoid eating excessive unhealthy snacks. Let us know in the comments if you think this is one of the most useful long distance road trip tips. Carbohydrates and refined sugars, such as those found in sugary soft drinks and sweets, may give you a temporary boost of energy. However, you will quickly come crashing down. A sudden spike in insulin can then increase tiredness on the road.

  1. Take frequent breaks

Taking regular rest breaks is one of our most important long-distance road trip tips. From a safety standpoint, you’ll need regular breaks to keep your energy up and to help you stay alert while driving.

Maybe you’re still looking to swap your car before you set off for holiday this year? At We Buy Wheels we buy running, non-running and accident damaged vehicles so you still have ample time to swap your current ride for something better for the road trip. Our agents come directly to you, so either fill in an online form at www.webuywheels.co.za or contact 012 012 5812 and receive immediate payment for your vehicle!

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