2020 has been a challenging year and for many and the thought of a year-end holiday is just the motivation needed to get through the next few weeks. The Automobile Association (AA) says while roads across the country experienced significant drops in volumes the past few months, traffic is expected to pick up steadily, especially following the official close of public schools on 15 December. “If you are going to be one of the hundreds of thousands of holiday-makers traversing the length and breadth of our beautiful country be sure you pack the right driving attitude in before anything else. Nothing compares to driving in a calm, measured, way and obeying the rules of the road will ensure you aren’t saddled with a fine. You will also be setting a good example for other passengers, particularly young people who will learning to drive soon,” says the AA. The Association warns that statistics show more people are killed in collisions during the festive periods than at any other time, and that the right frame of mind for drivers is equally as important as being physically able to drive, as well as the vehicle’s condition. It cautions that a bad driving attitude is dangerous on the road to not only drivers in one vehicle, but also to other road users. “If you haven’t already done so – and you need it to be done – get your vehicle serviced or booked for a service now; if you leave it too late you may not find a spot for your vehicle before you leave on holiday. Check your tyres, ensure your eyesight is still good (and wear your spectacles if you need to), have your route planned, and get a good night’s rest before you embark on your journey,” says the AA. As part of its service to all motorists the AA has compiled a check-list for the year-end which includes ensuring all the essential items for a successful trip are taken care of in good time. The AA has compiled a handy checklist for travellers which they can use to tick off the essential items needed for a successful journey. The checklist can be found at https://www.aa.co.za/checklist-2020 and is printable so motorists can reference it easily when needed. “Besides these items, we also advise motorists to check the warranties on their vehicles, and to confirm their insurance details before leaving. Remember, the onus to ensure these are still valid and in force rests with you, not the company who provides the insurance or warranties,” says the AA. The Association says all vehicles – including trailers and caravans – must be roadworthy and thoroughly checked before embarking on a long journey including spare wheels, nuts, bolts and axles. It says these vehicles should be in good enough condition for a round trip to your destination and back home again. While the checklist on the website offers a complete breakdown of everything that should be checked before, during and after a holiday, the AA offers the following as quick reference: • Get Roadside and Medical assist from the AA (and keep all your particulars with you which are available on the AA app) • Buckle up. This includes all passengers, including toddlers under three who, legally, must be in a child restraint, and children 1.3m or shorter who also need to be in booster seats. • Obey all the rules of the road, and drive to the conditions. If the road is marked 120km but visibility is poor, decrease your speed to ensure clear vision of the road ahead. • Remember everyone has a right to be on the road. • Get mobile security through the AA Armed Response which you can use while on your journey, at your destination, or even when you’re home • Check your vision before embarking on a long journey • Inspect tyres (including the spare tyre) and make sure they have sufficient tread for the road ahead, and check you have all the necessary tools to change a tyre if needed, including a red warning triangle. This includes tools for a tyre change on any vehicle you are towing. • Focus on the road and on other drivers. Distracted driving diminishes reaction time. • Plan a route off the beaten path and experience a bit more of South Africa than the regular routes. Take time and arrive at your destination calm and rested. A good place to start is on the AA’s website at www.aa.co.za, which will give you road conditions across South Africa. In addition to insurance and warranties, the Association says it’s vital to be properly covered for all medical, security and roadside emergencies. It says for this reason AA Membership is a must if you are driving in South Africa, and not only during the festive season. If you’re not already an AA Member view the AA’s website for information on products and benefits available and, if you are an existing Member, download the AA app on your mobile phone for easy use in case of an emergency. It’s available for Apple or Android. The AA says another burning issue for people at this time of the year is their security on the road, and at their holiday destinations. “The AA offers AA Armed Response, a mobile security app which essentially places a security officer in your phone. Once activated, the nearest security officer to your location is dispatched to offer armed security services, whether you’re in your car, in a mall buying presents, or even at your holiday destination. In addition to be covered for vehicle and medical emergencies, this provides a security solution for when you need it most,” says the AA. Finally, the AA advises any people who will not be travelling during the festive period to also ensure their vehicles, and their personal security, are in good condition. “Even if you’re not going away, your vehicle still needs to be looked after, so ensure it’s been serviced and ready for when you need it. Also ensure you are covered through the AA for any roadside, medical and security emergencies you may have; remember, these can happen anywhere and anytime, and you need someone you can trust to assist you,” concludes the AA.