LONG DISTANCE ROAD SAFETY
Charl Grobler, manager of marketing and product planning at Suzuki South Africa, shared some tips, tricks and hacks to keep you safe on the road. Best of all, they’re simple to execute.
“Adjusting your mirrors correctly is a crucial first step,” says Charl. Modern car mirrors are convex and give a bigger field of vision than previously, so if they’re adjusted correctly you shouldn’t have a blind spot. A perfectly adjusted side mirror has the back door handle in its bottom corner.
Most people know to keep a healthy following distance, but few realise, as Charl says, “your stopping distance increases exponentially with speed and weight.” The heavier your car, and the faster it’s going, the more distance you need to leave between you and the car in front of you - and not a little bit more.
USE THOSE BRAKES
With ABS brakes installed in pretty much all cars on the road, don’t be afraid to slam down if you need to. The juddering, shuddering noise and movement of the car when the brakes are fully engaged actually means the ABS system is working. The advantage of ABS brakes is with the braking and releasing mechanism that causes the juddering feel, you can actually swerve around a danger without fear of skidding or your wheels locking.
KEEP YOUR LIGHTS ON
“More and more cars come with daytime running lights, because it makes your car more visible on the road,” says Charl, “Dark-coloured and grey cars are hard to see on the road because they are the same colour as the tar. ”
Says Charl, “Anything unpredictable on the roads is a risk.” Drunk pedestrians, driving near a school, overloaded vehicles and animals are all elements that need an extra level of alertness. “Actively judge what level of risk each of these could pose and adjust your driving accordingly,” he adds.
MIND THE TRUCKS
It’s not the drivers that pose a risk, but the nature of the trucks themselves. A heavy vehicle has more momentum, a longer stopping distance and less chance of reacting to danger than a smaller one. There’s even a chance their brakes could fail. “Be ready to overtake them if you need to” says Charl.
CHECK TYRE PRESSURES
This is absolutely crucial and the easiest thing in the world to check, says Charl. Check your tyre pressure against the recommended numbers located in the driver’s door, on the B-pillar, and it’s best to keep a tyre pressure gauge handy that you know is accurate.