Easter is around the corner and South Africa is preparing for yet another traffic onslaught. Vehicles of all different road-worthiness will be on the road and in order to be careful on the road, you need to be careful.
When traveling on the open road, you need to pack your bakkie correctly, otherwise you will end up with items falling off the vehicle and breaking in the back. Here are five things to look out for:
One – Pack heavy items at the bottom
To avoid damaging your possessions, pack all the heavy items – boxes and crates – at the bottom of the bakkie flatbed. Remember, to ensure all items are secure and unable to move; otherwise you with having items bashing into each other every time you hit a bump or turn the wheels.
Two – Tie loose things down
Remember to tie all your loose cargo items down. These are normally the lighter items – toiletry bags, pillows and blankets – otherwise this could fly up and hamper your visibility. Furthermore, having items flapping around in the back is highly distracting and could cause you to shift your focus.
Three – Secure Roof Racks
Before loading items onto the roof rack, ensure that your roof rack is properly bolted onto the top of the vehicles Hilux canopy. The next step is to ensure that the items you place on the roof rack is tied down correctly. A tip for tying items to the roof rack: once you have secured the items on the roof rack, attempt to move the objects. If they move, then you have not tied them down correctly.
Four – Check clips
Ensure that your canopy clips are all correctly in place, locked in and not damaged. A damaged clip can – at high speed – break open and cause both the car and canopy serious damage. Before packing the vehicle, have a quick look over the clips to ensure that they are properly positioned.
Five – Check the tailgates
The last thing you want on a holiday is to struggle opening and closing your tailgate. Ensure that both latches are fully functional. If your ford canopies tailgate does not open and close properly, replace the pump cylinders and take spares on the trip.
When driving long distances remember these three important rules: stop regularly, keep hydrated and fed and check your car on a regular basis.
One – stop regularly: ensure that you stop regularly and stretch your legs. In order to keep you alert and ready to tackle any oncoming dangers, stop every hour and spend five minutes walking around outside the vehicle. This is a time to stretch and refocus your concentration on the road.
Two – Keep hydrated and fed: The next step when driving long distance is to always have enough food and drinks with you. This will help keep you awake and alert to your surroundings. The best items to eat and drink on the road are biltong, water and energy bars. Avoid any saucy foods or sticky drinks, because these will leave your car stained and smelling funny if you mess.
Three – Check your car: Remember to be on the lookout for luggage shifting, tyre pressures decreasing, warning lights on your dashboard and other safety hazards. When taking your quick five minute break, take a walk around the vehicle and look at the luggage, doors, wheel and engine and listen for any strange noises.
Four – Be environmentally conscious: An important aspect of long distance traveling is being environmentally aware. Ensure that your vehicle is correctly maintained and that you lower your carbon foot print. Learn how here.
Travel safe this festive season and ensure that you regularly stop and check your vehicle. Remember, in order to be more environmentally aware, drive at the speed limit, as this reduces your carbon emissions.