Apr 19 , 2019
The Easter Holidays are upon us and it’s that time of year when hundreds of thousands of South Africans will hit the roads to head out to their favourite holiday destinations.
While it’s a time of great festivities, it’s tragically also a period when hundreds of lives are lost. During the most recent December-January festive season, the road death toll alone topped just over 1 600 fatalities.
There’s no doubt that authorities once again will drum home the message about dangers around drinking and driving, as well as speeding. While these are very serious risks, there are further critical measures that drivers must be aware of before embarking on their trips.
During this time, South Africans often overlook key aspects of their cars that are critical to safe driving, with these ranging from windscreens to elements in contact with the road – such as suspension, steering and brakes.
Listed below is some advice from us at Autoboys about what key features you need to be aware of to ensure a safer trip during Easter.
The likes of Arrive Alive recognise that a car’s windscreen is an “important component in vehicle safety”.
Over time, small stones or cracks may have occurred along the surface of your windscreen.
A cracked windscreen is not only a hindrance to your ability to see what’s going on around you, but it can also become a danger to you during front-end collisions or rollovers. This is because a windshield forms part of the structure that holds your car together.
In addition, your windscreen is critical to providing support to your airbag. So, make sure that your windscreen is in top shape.
The suspension on a vehicle relates to shock absorbers, and when these are worn, your tyres can start bouncing along the road while driving.
When a wheel is bouncing, there’s no positive contact to the road surface. As a result, your braking and stability are affected, especially in wet weather conditions and during emergency stops.
The risk here is that your vehicle may go into an uncontrollable slide.
Control arms, lateral links
Any issues with your car’s control arms or lateral links will mean that you don’t have adequate control.
This can be especially dangerous when it comes to harsh braking in wet conditions or where there is lots of sand or pebbles.
It’s critical to ensure that these are in full working condition – at Autoboys, we can assist you with this if you need advice.
Braking system and tyres
Lastly, it’s imperative that your car is able to stay on the road surface with tyres that are in good condition and a fully functioning braking system.
When it comes to tyres, check that your tread is the right depth – the law states this needs to be at least 1.6mm. Also, be sure to check for any radial cracks as these could cause blowouts while driving.
Further to this, make sure you have a fully functioning braking system that includes sufficient brake pad thickness, and brake discs that are not adversely worn. This latter issue, in particular, can cause brake fade which is when the brakes overheat so much that they become ineffective.
If you take care of these key aspects on your vehicle, then you can substantially reduce your risk on the roads the Easter holiday period.
- Filum Ho is the CEO of South African auto parts and glass specialists Autoboys. Filum transitioned from a top career in investment banking at the likes of Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch to shaking up SA’s auto parts and glass markets. In 2017, African Rainbow Capital (ARC) acquired a 51% stake in Autoboys, making it SA’s first black-owned national glass and collision parts provider.
By Filum Ho, CEO of Autoboys