Preparing for winter driving

Two bright lights approach each other off the coast. The commander of the battleship radioed, “This is Captain Craig of the Navy battleship – you are approaching my ship – adjust your course! Over”. A young voice answered: ”This is Private Smith, I’m unable to comply sir, you have to change course Captain, over”. The Captain, now fuming because the Private refuses to comply to his command “Private I am a Captain, you are a Private and this is the most powerful warship in the Navy – I command you change course immediately!! Over”. Private Smith replied: “Sorry sir still I cannot comply…this is the light house, over and out”.

Yes, it is that time of year where we have to check that we prepare for the coming winter driving conditions. This includes making sure we can see and others can see us.

Make sure your vehicle’s windows are clean and clear on the inside and outside. Do the same with the mirrors, lights, reflectors etc. I use an old towel to wipe off the dew in the morning. Use clean paper towels or even newspaper (read it first ok).

Start the engine and let it run for longer than usual to get all the systems up to operational temperature. Keep safety in mind when you have wee ones around. Never drive off when you have limited visibility through the windows. The position of the sun may be low when we drive east or west in the morning and late afternoon. Make sure you can see clearly, but also that other road user can see you. Whenever you experience sun strike, pull over where it is safe and wait a few minutes for the sun to move so you can clearly see the road ahead. Sometimes we may experience sunstrike when looking down a side road at an intersection. Please do not enter or cross unless it is safe.

Turn the headlights on dipped beam, even during the day when you see other drivers have their lights turned on. Use fog lights only when it is foggy. It is illegal to use fog lights when visibility is clear. Keep spare fuses in your vehicle and also a spare headlight and taillight. I counted 19 vehicles that only had one headlight working when I returned from Christchurch a couple of weeks ago and no they were not motorcycles J. Talking about motorcycles, by law, whenever riding a motorcycle, near or far, the headlights must be turned on at all times.

Never drive with only the park lights on!

This is also a good time to have your vehicle checked for the condition of the battery, the tyres (including the spare), radiator fluids, windscreen wipers, etc.

Safer Journeys!

Daniel Naudé

Road Safety Coordinator