Hit the road safely this Tourism Month

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Spring has officially sprung, the weather is warming up, flowers are in full bloom across our colourful landscapes, and our bushes and reserves are positively teeming with new life. With September being Tourism Month in South Africa, it’s a great time to consider hitting the road to take a Sho’t Left and boost domestic tourism.

If you’re looking for an affordable mini-holiday option that can be planned at short notice – especially for families – then nothing quite beats the thrill of road tripping. It gives adventure-seekers an up-close-and-personal experience of the wide-open spaces and unique tourist attractions that make South Africa such a firm favourite for road travel.

“Taking on the open road is certainly exhilarating, but of course it can also expose you to certain risks that can ruin even the most perfectly planned holiday,” says Phil Donnelly, Managing Director at Bidvest Insurance

“Whether you’re heading off to the beach, the bush or the berg for that must-do adventure or relaxed getaway, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered for every eventuality,” he adds.

He shares these handy tips for those planning to get behind the wheel for a mini-break during Tourism Month or beyond.

  • Plan ahead. Great planning and preparation help to make a road trip a success. Plan your route in advance so you know the refreshment stops, petrol stations, emergency services and any attractions along the way. If you are venturing into unfamiliar territory, factor in some extra travel time in case the roads are challenging.
  • Be road trip ready. Do all the important checks on your vehicle ahead of time. Ensure that windscreen wipers, brakes, headlights, tyres and tyre pressure, oil and water levels, are checked before your trip.
  • Prepare for every eventuality. Check that your spare tyre, first aid kit and emergency kit – including warning triangle, wheel spanner and jack – are on hand and in good working condition.
  • Never overload your vehicle. A vehicle loaded past its maximum weight will be less stable, difficult to steer and accelerate, and will take longer to stop. Overloading negatively affects tyres, brakes, shock absorbers, suspensions and fuel consumption.
  • Watch your speed. Stick to within the speed limit, but also adjust your speed as appropriate for the situation at hand. Slow down on tricky or busy roads, or in poor visibility.
  • Tread safely. A flat tyre or puncture are among the most common vehicle challenges motorists face while holidaying away. Worn or damaged tyres are a safety hazard, and a tyre failure can lead to a serious incident on your road trip. Always inflate tyres to the correct pressure and check them before and after your trip for any cuts, bulges, wear and tear. Take your tyre protection up a notch with Tyre Angel insurance cover from Bidvest Insurance, which includes tyre and rim cover, unlimited puncture repairs, rim repairs and all replacement tyres – with wheel alignment and balancing included
  • Get roadside assistance. Vehicle breakdowns can happen out of nowhere – and the last thing you need while on holiday is to be stranded. Mechanical Warranty from Bidvest Insurance puts you and your wellbeing first, should you suffer a mechanical or electrical breakdown. It covers towing services for up to 400 kilometres, roadside tyre changes, flat battery assistance, locksmith services, car hire for up to five days and hotel accommodation if you’re more than 100 kilometres away from home.
  • Emergency speed dial. Have emergency numbers saved in advance of your trip, such as your insurance company or 112, in case you run into trouble and require emergency service. It will save you from having to Google in the middle of what could be a stressful situation.
  • Keep a close eye on valuables. Don’t let down your guard while you’re away. Keep valuables out of sight while driving or out and about. Should you experience loss or theft of important items like keys, cellphone or handbags, it helps to have cover in place such as Key Angel and Panic Alert from Bidvest Insurance. Panic Alert of which covers you for the replacement of cellphone, portable electronics, handbag, personal documents, and even offers emergency courtesy transport, trauma counselling and emergency medical assistance.
  • Stay connected:  Always let friends or family know where you are going and if you are likely to be out of contact at any time. Don’t take for granted that there will be cellphone coverage or an internet connection.

But most of all, have fun! Whatever you choose as your next tourist adventure – from the mountains to the coast, or the game reserves, hiking trails or wetlands, it can be an even more enjoyable experience knowing that you’re safe, secure and adequately covered in the event of mishaps along the way.