Road Trip Tips for the Holiday Season

The South African holiday season is around the corner and the open road is calling. Here are some road trip tips to ensure that you reach your local holiday destination safely. By Sharney Nel.

Unfortunately, the holiday season is also the most risky time to be on the road, with an increase of car accidents that result in injuries, fatalities and also unforeseen costs. At the start of 2016, the Department of Transport reported an increase in festive season fatalities of 14% compared to the year before1. The festive season period usually starts from the 1st of December until the 11th of January. A recent report showed a road accident increase of 33% for the Western Cape while KwaZulu-Natal was the only province that reported a decrease compared to the previous year.

We all know the usual road safety tips to reduce the risk of an accident; do a full check-up and service your car before the trip, don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, keep a safe following distance, stop and rest if you get tired. But what about the not-so-obvious tips?

If you have opted to take the scenic route by going on a road trip for your local holiday this year, here are some unusual safety tips to consider before you take on the long road:

Avoid a Sugar Rush

Many people think that sugary treats, energy drinks, coffee and junk food keep their energy levels up during a road trip. This is however short-lived as you will crash soon after consuming these treats and it puts you at risk of becoming fatigued sooner. Ensure that you eat healthy snacks during your trip and drink plenty of water2.

Activate/Change Your Voicemail Message During Your Trip

Using cellphones whilst driving is one of the major causes of accidents. People awaiting your arrival are usually curious about your whereabouts and will call to find out whether everything is all right. Change your voicemail at each rest stop to inform people of where you are in your journey and let them know where your next stop will be. This will put them (as well as yourself) at ease and avoid unnecessary phone calls during your drive.

Switch Insurance

It may not seem like a good idea to change insurance just before you go on holiday, but according to Derek Wilson, Head of, this is actually the best time to consider checking whether your insurance has you covered since you are alert and thinking of all possible scenarios, so you are able to ask all the right questions. For example, just before a trip people will question whether they have the best roadside assistance as part of their vehicle insurance cover in case of an emergency. Check and confirm that you are adequately insured by visiting to compare Car Insurance quotes from a range of South African providers.

*Based on 2016 independent market research conducted by Kaufman Levin Associates. Sources: 1. Arrive Alive; 2.

About the Author: Sharney Nel is the Public Relations Manager at Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd – an authorised financial services provider (FSP number: 16357). Established in 2007, is South Africa’s leading comparison website that helps consumers save money by comparing a range of South African providers across financial products such as Car Insurance, Household Insurance, Life Insurance, Medical Aid and more. For more information visit

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