December happens to be the month where a lot of long distance travelling happens. It’s common for people to travel long distance during the period whether it’s going on vacation or visiting relatives. In addition, it’s the month where most car accidents are reported. Here’s a checklist to ensure your car is in good shape for long distance travel during the festive season. 9 essentials you should have in your car
- Service Your Vehicle
This is one of the most important things to do before a long distance journey. That, and prayer. Inspect your tires, check whether you need an oil change, top up important fluids and check if your lights are working well.
Replace worn tyres, replace cv joints, suspension bushes, tie rods, and rack ends. Go for alignment and camber adjustment. To avoid common highway breakdowns, check your battery, check your belts, check your lights, check your indicators & spare tyre.
2. Rest Sufficiently
The night before embarking on any long distance travel, make sure that you have ample sleep. Driving while sleepy is just as bad as driving while intoxicated. If you feel fatigued in the middle of the journey, stop your car and rest for a few minutes. Or have a co-driver with you.
- Check Your Air Conditioning
Temperatures tend to change drastically as you move to different regions. Therefore, air conditioning is your friend during long-distance travel. Tell your mechanic to check this as it is often overlooked. Avoid using the fan as this will let in unfiltered air which could carry bacteria.
- Do Not Stand Next To A Stalled Vehicle
In case your vehicle breaks down, advice your travel mates to stand far from the vehicle as you repair or wait for help. You don’t want to add fuel to fire by endangering the lives of the passengers. Additionally, follow the traffic rules strictly with regards to placing warning signs.
- Pack An Emergency Kit
Anything can happen on the road. Pack flashlights, blankets, a spare wheel, repair tools and a medical kit. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures.
For those going to extreme ends of the country purchase simple puncture repair kits and mini compressors (a small investment of less than 5k) to avoid spending hours in dangerous and unfamiliar places.
- Be Attentive
A good driver is constantly aware of his surrounding without keeping his eyes off the road. Your mind should only be focused on driving as distracted drivers are one of the biggest causes of road accidents. Keep your phone on silent and keep the snacking to a minimum.
- Bring Snacks
You’re bound to get hungry at one point. Instead of stopping for food, pack a few snacks for you and your passengers. If you’re travelling with children, this is very important to make sure they’re comfortable. Pack some water as well as you will get thirsty. Tips for travelling with children
- Provide Entertainment
This is more so for you, the driver, than anyone else. Long distance travel requires entertainment to prevent you from dozing or zoning out. Make a playlist of upbeat music. For the kids, you can bring board games or play interesting car games to keep them occupied.
- Always Wear A Safety Belt
Safety belts save lives. This is the most important safety device in your car and should be put to use every time. Additionally, many road accident fatalities happen because people were not wearing safety belts. Make sure all your passengers are strapped in including the children and never carry excess passengers. Every adult you carry must be seated and belted. No standing kids – especially those that like to stand kids behind the dashboard. The child will be severely injured even in a 30kph accident.
- Help A Stranded Motorist
If you come across an accident, help out the passengers or anyone in need. Also, call the police and emergency services. Doing this could save someone’s life as opposed to taking pictures of the accident scene.
11. Drive Slow, It’s a Holiday Not An Emergency
Overspeeding is one of the major factors that contribute to road accidents in Kenya. Drive at a reasonable speed; not too fast and not too slow.
12. Don’t Compete With Other Motorists
Kenyans have this juvenile habit of thinking everything is a competition, even when it comes to the lives of others. Make sure you focus on driving safely this holiday season. Give way even if you have right of way. The first rule of the road is also the one that will ensure you arrive alive.
13. Car Break down
Do not place your triangle 2 metres behind your car! Place it at a minimum of 70 metres from where your car has stalled. Do not place a tyre on the road… A sleeping driver will hit it and his front wheels may lose contact with the road and if he runs into you … The story will not end well.
14. Don’t Overtake In A Herd
People have a habit of overtaking with others even if they can’t see the front of a long line. Don’t follow the crowd and swing to the right when everybody does. You will find yourself under the axle of a 22 wheeler trying to get back to your lane. Don’t overtake on blind corners or in heavy rain.
Drive safe and enjoy your holidays.
Most of these tips were from @Only1Ranto’ on Twitter. Give him a follow.