5 Tips for safely getting back to driving on SA’s roads


Now that economies are opening up, and with the right safety precautions being followed, more people are starting up those ignitions and “getting back to it.”

While you may think driving is much like “riding a bike”, it’s still important to remember that you haven’t been on the roads quite as much as usual this year; and some of your normal reflexes and experienced instincts may need a little safety refresher.

Top tips to get you safely behind the wheel and on the road again

1. Get reacquainted with your car

If it’s been a few months since you’ve given your car a proper run, take a moment before you set off to ensure that you’re as familiar with it as you used to be. Once you’re on the move, it’s all too easy to mindlessly turn on your windscreen wipers rather than your indicators. This can result in distracted driving while you correct yourself. As you may well recall, while in motion, every second matters when it comes to practising safe driving.

It’s also important to…

  • Check the position of your seat and that mirrors are in the correct places for both comfort and safe driving ability.
  • Ensure that there is enough fuel in your tank (it’s easier to lose track than you think)
  • Ensure that the battery is still in good condition.
  • Check the condition of and pressure in your tyres (including the spare) – if your car has been standing for a while, tyre pressure can deflate a little.
  • Ensure that all the vehicle’s lights (front, back indicators and brake lights) are still in working order (even if you’re only just popping out for a short time during daylight hours).
  • Have your brakes tested at a service outlet.
  • Check that your brake fluid, coolant, oil and water levels are not running low.
  • Look out for any warning lights on your dashboard – and if there are any, don’t ignore them – get them checked before heading out for a drive.
  • Ensure that your driving and vehicle licences aren’t soon to expire (or have already).
  • Check when your vehicle is due it’s next maintenance or service check.
2. Ease back into it

You may well remember that driving requires a fair bit of concentration, and if you haven’t been using your vehicle much or at all during the nationwide lockdown, your ability may be a little on the rusty side. So, it may be a good idea to make the first few outings short trips. You could also opt for quieter areas that you are more familiar with – especially now that more cars are frequenting the country’s roads.

A gradual rebuild of your ability to concentrate and sharpen your observation skills may be less taxing on you physically. Longer trips or driving through busier spots may turn out to be more stressful for you than you realise. At first, you may also want to avoid driving in certain weather conditions or at night until you’re 100% comfortable again.

It’s also good to keep in mind that your reaction time and perception of speed may be a little off as you begin driving again – other drivers on the road around you may need to be more mindful of this too.

It’s better to drive a little every day – even if just for 30 minutes or so. You can gradually increase your distances as needed after a while, and get used to increasing volumes of traffic at the same time too without getting stressed. So, ease back into it if you feel a little rusty or anxious about being back in the thick of heavier traffic.

3. Be mindful of other road users

As more South Africans begin using the country’s roads more frequently, or even perhaps venture further from home during the weekends or summer holiday break, it would be prudent not to assume that everyone’s driving skills will be at their sharpest.

While some drivers may be more comfortable, having gotten back into more of their usual driving habits already, others may not. It is best to be extra vigilant while out and about.

People may still need to adjust to little things again – such as how to navigate a roundabout or even remember to turn off their indicator after making a turn. Pedestrians, runners or cyclists may also make use of quieter streets, forgetting that a car can appear at any stage. Focus on sharpening your defensive driving skills so as to keep both yourself and others safe on the roads.

4. Find out if there have been any official road rule or speed limit changes

It can happen that speed limits in certain areas or other road rule changes could have occurred while you were mostly staying home. Ensure that you check such things beforehand so as to avoid any nasty surprises by law enforcement should you get pulled over.

5. Check on your car insurance cover

It’s always a good idea to periodically ensure that your plan is still up to date and that all of your needs are covered. Has a member of your family perhaps purchased a new vehicle? Or sold one? Is your warranty period coming to an end?

Remember if you are a Vitality Drive member you have access to the very best safety features such as Impact Alert that enables us to detect when you have been in an accident and send help immediately, even if we can't get hold of you.

You also get access to a range of services and rewards such as:

  • Up to 50% fuel cash back at a BP and Shell service station.
  • Maximise your fuel cash back by visiting a Tiger Wheel & Tyre branch to complete your Annual MultiPoint Check and make sure your vehicle is in a safe condition before travelling.
  • Earn up to 20% off your Tiger Wheel & Tyre purchases and fund up to 100% of your tyres with your Insure Funder Account.

By being careful and considerate, we can collectively ensure that we all stay safe on South Africa’s roads.

Learn more about Discovery Insure’s comprehensive car insurance and warranty cover plans.

Your phone can now talk to us if you can’t

With Discovery Insure’s panic button, your phone can talk to us if you find yourself in danger and need help fast. Press your Android smartphone’s power button at least five times in quick succession to alert us if you find yourself in an emergency situation. We’ll be able to track exactly where your vehicle is and send a response team to help.

Discovery Insure's Impact Alert sends help when you need it most

Wish you had the technology to call for help when you most need it? Discovery Insure’s Impact Alert feature can detect when you’ve been in an accident. If we can’t get hold of you immediately, we’ll send emergency assistance to your location, while our Vehicle panic button can be used to alert emergency services when you’re in your car and need help.

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