TRAVEL WISE – CAR HIRE SOUTH AFRICA
With the safety and security of our clients and the public at heart, we share some useful information on travel safety and –security, based on past experience.
Foreign visitors in particular, making use of rental vehicles or other vehicles are bound to find much of this information, specific to local driving, useful.
Apart from the most emphasised and obvious causes of accidents, drinking and driving, and speeding, the following less stigmatised causes of accidents, as experienced with rental vehicles, and the obvious ways of avoiding them are discussed below.
Use of Mobile Phones and Hand-held Devices During Driving
It is claimed that more accidents occur due to the use of mobile devices during driving, than any other cause.
Every moment spent using such a device during driving, is a moment distracted from driving, and a lapse in awareness of surroundings and potential dangers.
If you are compelled to use phone, then pull over and stop safely before using it.
Maintenance of Safe Following Distances
Unsafe (too short) following distances deprive the driver of taking evasive action or being able to stop in time with sufficient distance within which to manoeuvre.
In the absence of more calculated discretionary reactions to such emergency situations, the only default reactions are involuntary abrupt braking or unsafe swerving.
Such abrupt reactions affect also following traffic with no advance warning, insufficient time to react, resulting in collisions from the rear.
The distance between your car and the one ahead of you is entirely within your discretion and control.
Making the defensive choice of trailing at a safe distance, will not only ensure that you have enough time to react consciously, as opposed to instinctively, but equally important, will allow traffic behind you enough time to react to your signals and alerts, consciously.
Travel in Dark and/or Rain
Whilst the main national roads in South Africa are generally well maintained, the same is not true of many of the secondary and tertiary roads in South Africa.
Stray animals, badly eroded road shoulders and potholes are a widespread phenomenon, and a major cause of serious damages to rental vehicles, mostly occurring during dark or in rain.
It is often challenging enough to compensate for potholes during daylight. Travelling in the dark, or during rain, when water filled potholes are undetectable, exacerbates the risk.
If at all possible, avoid driving at night or during rain. If unavoidable, then do so at safe speeds.
Patience and Tolerance
Traffic density in the cities inevitably causes frustrations and tensions amongst motorists.
Road rage confrontations and assaults, leading to serious injury and even deaths are a common phenomenon in South Africa.
When confronted with such situations, it is impossible to know whether an offender is rational, inclined to violence or even armed.
Unless it is necessary to act in self defence, avoid confrontations, either verbal, hand signalling or otherwise.
Driver and Vehicle Security
In the interest of your safety and that of the rental car in your care, the following security risks are worth noting, particularly for the attention of foreign visitors unfamiliar with South Africa’s social environment.
Whilst vehicle theft is a global scourge, it is probably worse in South Africa and Southern Africa than in most other countries.
The following precautions will minimise the risk: …
- Keep the car in a lock-up garage or behind secure fencing overnight. Do not leave a car parked on a street or side walk or in any unsecured public area at overnight
- Ensure that all doors are properly locked when parking. Use the remote immobiliser, if the rental vehicle is equipped with such a device to ensure that an alarm will sound when necessary.
- Remove all valuables from the vehicle when locking up. Visible valuables left in the car pose a real temptation to burglary. It should also be born in mind that car hire insurance does not include insurance cover on any content held in the vehicle
Smash and Grabbing
Incidents of breaking windows and swift grabbing of visible valuables from stationary or slow moving cars at congested traffic light intersections, is rife in most cities.
Handbags, laptop computers and mobile phones are particularly at risk.
Lock all loose valuable items in the luggage trunk of a vehicle when travelling in cities. Ensure that there are no temptations on display.
Electronic devices that are able to jam signals from your remote locking unit to your vehicle are used at mainly shopping centre parking areas to prevent your remote unit from locking your vehicle. This is referred to as jamming.
You may then leave the vehicle, firmly under the impression that you have locked the car, whilst the offending jamming device may have obstructed your attempt at locking. Once you are out of site, the offenders then simply open the vehicle and take whatever is available.
Check all doors and the luggage trunk physically, to confirm that they are indeed locked before leaving the car unattended.