Be courteous, and wait for a sufficient gap before changing lanes. Picture: Karen Sandison

Johannesburg - As you get ready to head out to your holiday destination this Easter, here is some guidance on what to pack and how to prepare.

BASIC CAR CHECKS

Firstly, make sure your vehicle’s in tip-top condition: tyres should have the required tread depth and correct pressures (remember the spare wheel too), and check that the windscreen wipers, brakes and shock absorbers are all in good condition. Ensure the jack, wheel spanner and warning triangle are present, and take jumper cables too just in case.

EMERGENCY KIT

Take a basic first-aid kit as well as a small “boy scout” kit with basics like a torch (with fresh batteries), duct tape, cable ties, a fire extinguisher and a multi-tool like a Leatherman – handy items no matter where you find yourself.

LEAVE EARLY

Give yourself enough time on the road to reach your destination without rushing, and allow for rest stops. Leave early; the quieter, less-stressful roads will make the early wake-up time worth it.

CHILD ENTERTAINMENT

If you have young children, invest in a portable DVD player to keep them entertained on the long journey without you having to field “are we there yet?” questions from the back seat.

YOUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE

Buckle up at all times. Seatbelts are still the first line of defence in most crashes. Every scientific study undertaken has shown that seatbelts are the most effective method of reducing death and serious injury during a crash. SA could probably reduce its annual road deaths by a third if everybody wore their seatbelts. In a crash, people have a five-times greater chance of survival if they stay in the vehicle instead of being thrown out.

Babies and small children require a child seat, as an adult safety belt can cause the lap belt to ride up over the stomach and the shoulder belt to cut across the neck, potentially causing the child serious abdominal or neck injuries.

ON THE ROAD

Drive courteously. Always check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes, ensure there’s a sufficient gap in the traffic, and use your indicators. Use the fast lane for overtaking only; don’t try and play “policeman” and sit in the right-hand lane blocking faster traffic, as this only causes road rage.

And drive at appropriate speeds. This not only means adhering to the speed limit, but making sure you’re not travelling too slowly when merging onto a busy road. And please, whatever you do, don’t make u-turns on a freeway.

Star Motoring

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