We are all well aware of the fact that only intra-provincial travel is allowed under level three lockdown conditions, but for a variety of reasons many motorists are getting permits to move across provincial borders. The lockdown has seen a slowing down of essential road maintenance across many of our roads and many have deteriorated beyond the norm. This even applies to our neighbouring countries, which had many dangerous roads before the advent of COVID 19. The last thing you would like is to have an accident or damage your vehicle whilst travelling. This would result in inconvenience and an unnecessary insurance claim.
The simple solution is to practise defensive driving techniques and apply them at all times. This will help you identify dangerous situations timeously and apply the correct techniques to avoid an accident or damage to your vehicle. We have acquired a reputation for having roads that are slightly “dodgy” with little or no maintenance and this poses a challenge when out in the country on a trip.
The best advice I can give you is to reduce your speed unless you are on a road or highway that you travel regularly and know to be in good condition. This will enable you to stop on time if necessary or take evasive action to move past an obstruction or obstacle. Do not stick to the speed limit if visibility is impaired due to rain, mist or even dust – reduce your speed and use your headlights to make yourself more visible to other motorists.
If travelling at night on secondary roads be aware of animals, as well as unlit vehicles- I advise against night driving unless you are on good sections of national highways – it’s simply not worth the risk.
Pay attention to the road conditions as well as any posted signs that may warn you of obstacles, road works and even high-jacking hotspots. On a long trip, you may drive on a variety of road surfaces and you will have to adapt your driving style accordingly be it on gravel, sand or even tar. Remember that weather plays a role here, with rain or snow a good road may become slippery and treacherous and you will have to reduce speed considerably and may even require 4WD to maintain traction and steering control. The surfaces on gravel and sand roads change a good deal and you should be aware of slippery conditions when the sand is fine and powdery or the road surface is highly corrugated. At Cross Country we want you to travel safely and return home safely, as such we also advise that you see to the following before attempting a long trip,
- Complete a pre-trip inspection before leaving and ensure that your service schedule is up to date before embarking on a long journey.
- Check the condition of your tyres i.r.o. tread depth and wear as well as tyre pressure, this applies to your spare tyre as well.
- Keep an eye on water and oil levels as well as temperature as you travel.
- Ensure that you have the necessary tools in the event of a flat as well as a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher.
- Plan your route and stops to ensure that you can refuel regularly and do not violate the curfew that is in place.
- Be aware of the fact that you will more than likely encounter roadblocks, ensure that you have the necessary paperwork as well as identification and a valid drivers licence.
- Maintain the posted speed limits at all times on national roads as you would hate to be pulled over and fined for speeding.
- Observe basic convoy rules if you are in a group of vehicles.
- Pay attention to narrowing of the road due to obstacles, bridges or even cattle grids as you will have to further reduce speed.
- If you are lucky enough to visit a game reserve or national park bear in mind that the wildlife have become accustomed to reduced traffic and may simply take time to cross a road or even take over a section of the road.
- Lastly if you have a load on a roof rack or even a cycle rack ensure that it is adequately secured as well as being secure against possible theft.
Keep the Cross Country details at hand in case you need to contact us or your broker, stay safe and take care.