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How to have an epic, and incident-free, Easter break.

Published on: 27 March 2013

For many, the timing of the Easter holidays is just perfect. After a busy festive season and frantic start to the year, you take advantage of all the public holidays to get out of town, unwind in great weather, and explore our beautiful country.

But sadly, the Easter weekend is also a traffic accident nightmare, with up to 100 people dying on the roads every day, according to the South African Ministry of Transport. The government has committed to halving road accident fatalities by 2020 – the end of the United Nations' decade of road safety.

Here are some tips to ensure your Easter long weekend is a relaxing break, rather than mired by pesky breakdowns, or even worse, tragic fatalities.

Going to be drinking?

You know you shouldn't be drinking and driving. MiWay offers its customers free services such as WeDrive to make sure that you can plan ahead to get home safely by booking the home-drive service instead of driving after drinking. Ask your insurer what they offer.

Understand your safety net

Familiarise yourself with your insurance policy and check:

  1. Do you qualify for roadside assistance?
  2. Do you have the emergency assistance numbers easily at hand or stored on your cellphone?
  3. Is your insurer's emergency sticker clearly visible on your car, to avoid unapproved providers from trying to help you in an emergency?
  4. Does your insurance cover you if you travel to neighbouring countries, and do you need to notify them if you do so?
  5. Have you taken out a motor warranty if your car is out of warranty or no longer under motorplan?

Before you leave home

  1. Is your home contents insurance policy up to date, with all recently purchased items and their values being updated onto the policy?
  2. Is your home comprehensively covered for power surges, burst geysers, floods, fires and theft?
  3. If you're taking your iPad, camera or bicycles with you on holiday, have you specified the risk with your insurer to make sure you're covered?
  4. Have you checked that your alarm is in working order and your armed services are responsive?
  5. Have you unplugged all unused appliances, removed keys out of locked doors, closed all curtains or blinds and locked all valuables and spare keys in the safe?
  6. Is your fridge as empty as it could be? In the case of a power failure, you don't want to come back home to spoiled food!
  7. If you can, ask a family member or friend to keep an eye out or go past the house occasionally.

Road tripping?

Here's a handy checklist to ensure the safety of your car:

  1. Tyres: make sure your tyres are safe and legal by ensuring the tread depth is more than 1mm across the entire surface of the tyre, and there are no existing cuts or other damage.
  2. Brakes: check your brake pads and discs for safe stopping power.
  3. Windscreen: fix reparable chips before they spread.
  4. Windscreen wipers: replace worn out wipers in case there's a drop or two of rain.
  5. Lights: make sure all lights, especially your brake lights, are working.
  6. Battery: replace old batteries before you're stranded in the middle of nowhere.
  7. Spare wheel: out of sight should not be out of mind. Check the tread and tyre pressure.
  8. Check your shock absorbers for a smooth ride.
  9. Ensure you have a breakdown triangle and other emergency gear in your boot.
  10. Finally, check your water, oil and tyre pressure before leaving for holiday.

A small bit of pre-planning and preparation will ensure your Easter break is relaxing and trouble-free from the moment you leave your driveway, until you return, hopefully suntanned and relaxed. Enjoy it!