Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With One Tyre Check
- Work or virtually any activity increases the likelihood of fatigue.
- Start any trip by getting enough sleep the night before – at least six hours is recommended (but we won’t hold 10 hours against you!)
- Check that the spare wheel is in good condition and properly inflated. Make sure that you have a serviceable jack and wheel brace.
- Check your car’s roadworthiness, including the headlights, indicators, stop lights, tail-lights, windscreen wiper blades, mirrors, brakes, steering, tyres, tyre pressures, exhaust system and possible oil or fuel leaks.
- Check the coolant, fluids and oil levels.
- Plan your route, refuelling, rests and overnight stops.
- Never transport flammable liquid in the vehicle. Plan your refuelling stops accordingly.
The Facts About Driving Under The Influence
- According to the Automobile Association (AA), 50% of South African road fatalities are due to driving under the influence of alcohol.
- The legal blood/alcohol limit in South Africa may not exceed 0.05g per 100ml or breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1,000ml. This equates to 75ml of wine, 2/3 of a beer or cider, or one 25ml shot of spirits every hour.
- South Africa is number one in alcohol-related road deaths in the world – World Health Organisation, 2015 study.
- Up to 6 years in jail, up to R120 000 in fines, a suspended driver’s license, and a criminal record. These are all the facts that drunk drivers may face.
- The best way to sober up is to not get drunk at all.
- According to statistics from the Medical Research Council, there are 17 000-plus road deaths every year, with 58% of deaths being alcohol related.
While Hitting The Road
- Take a 15-minute break at least every two hours, pop a fizzy drink and recharge – a sharp mind = arriving alive.
- Invest in a good pair of sunglasses to keep the sun’s glare from impairing your vision.
- Avoid eating heavy foods – skip the curry until you’ve arrived at your destination.
- Make sure that you rest when you are not driving, lean on the buddy system and get someone to take the wheel while you chill out.
- Boredom can also cause fatigue. Listen to music, have a chat or turn on the radio.
- Keep a safe distance behind the car in front of you – tailgating at high speeds is silly.
- Drive according to the road conditions – allow for more braking time if the road is wet.
What To Do If There’s An Accident
- Park in a safe position off the road.
- Turn on your hazard lights and headlights – the more light the better, but give the flood lights a skip as they will blind oncoming traffic.
- If the accident is on a blind rise or bend, park your vehicle back from the accident in a ‘fend-off’ position so vehicles can see the accident scene.
- Put out your warning triangles if you have them.
- Phone ER24 on 084 124, Netcare 911 or the Other Emergency Numbers below. 084 124 is the national number which will connect you with ER24’s Contact Centre.
It is an emergency line where a call taker will request the following information:
- Your telephone number (to remain in contact with you should you be cut off)
- Your location (street name and nearest crossroad)
- The details of what happened, how many people were injured, any signs of a fire, etc.
This Bit Is Super Important
- Safety – Do not attempt heroics which may potentially jeopardise your own safety. Your safety comes first, before that of the injured. You are of no use to anyone if you become injured while attempting to help others.
- If there is fire and you have a fire extinguisher, use it and direct the foam/ water at the base of the flames.
- Do NOT move the patient or attempt to remove them from the vehicle UNLESS there is an immediate threat to life (e.g. the car is on fire and you are unable to extinguish it). There may be an underlying injury to the neck or spine and unnecessary movement could make this worse.
- If the person is unconscious, open their mouth and check that there is nothing inside that could be causing obstruction.
- Check if the person is breathing.
- If the patient is breathing, leave them in the position you find them and monitor them regularly.
- If the patient is NOT breathing and you have been trained to do so, you may begin CPR and rescue breathing as necessary.
Check out our article about Distell promoting responsible driving this festive season.
By Shawn Greyling