By Moses Akaigwe
If you are packing up your car to leave to, or return from, a holiday destination this festive season, are you sure your vehicle is in the best condition for your trip?
This not only includes ensuring your maintenance is up-to-date but making sure your car has what it needs to take on both the type of roads and the other driving conditions your trip might entail.
The upkeep of your vehicle can have a direct impact on your safety during this period. The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says: “Maintenance, or lack thereof, is a major cause in many accidents during the festive season. To ensure you do not fall victim to an unnecessary crash as a result of a parts failure you need to do a comprehensive check-up on various parts of their vehicle.
“It is recommended to get a professional to do this, but if you have recently serviced your vehicle, you can check some of the basic items yourself as well.”
The following needs to be up-to-date and/or checked:
Services: before setting off, ensure all your services are up-to-date. Rather complete this sooner rather than later, particularly if a major service is due or will be soon after your return.
Check liquid levels: while this is likely to be something that was checked at your last service, it is still a good idea to check your oil and water levels and do not forget your windscreen wiper levels.
Tyres: it is always essential to check the condition of your tyres to make sure there is no damage to the side walls or any other damage that may be caused by hitting a pothole. Check the expiration date of your tyres. Even if this does not cause an accident, certain insurance providers may still have a problem with this. These tyres can also possibly be more dangerous as there is a higher chance of them bursting, especially in hot weather, as they crack and harden with age.
General wear and tear: check the condition of components such as windscreen wipers, look for chips in your windscreen and check if all your lights and indicators are working properly.
Don’t be neglectful: if it is time to repair or maintain a major feature on your car, especially one that can have a definite impact on your safety such as brake pads, do not delay it particularly if you are setting out on a long trip.
Be prepared for the worst: have basic emergency supplies in your vehicle, including a first aid kit, basic supplies if you should get stuck overnight and supplies that can provide a temporary fix to a problem a problem such as tyre repair sealant. If you are travelling somewhere remote, have the facilities to safely carry extra fuel.
Before leaving, be sure your vehicle has what is needed to handle the road conditions expected. “If you know the area encountered circumstances that could affect the quality of roads, such as harmattan haze, high levels of rainfall and consequently increased potholes, be sure you have everything necessary to be prepared for this.
If you are driving to an area that requires an off-road vehicle to safely traverse the terrain, ensure all your off-road features are adequately maintained. Also, do not try driving through an area like this with a regular road vehicle.
“Ensuring your car is prepared and maintained for the anticipated conditions, might make the difference between a hair-raising experience and one that you can handle capably and confidently. It requires understanding the area you are travelling to and what kind of roads and conditions to expect along the way. Consequently, planning is an important and essential part of staying safe on the roads this festive season.”
If you have not yet checked if your vehicle’s maintenance is up to scratch, now is the time to do so. “Before you pack up your vehicle and leave, be sure to put the time and energy into vehicle maintenance so that you and your family make it to your holiday destination safely and without any incident,” says Herbert.