December marks a festive time of the year. For many South Africans, it is the only time that they can take time off from work to go on holiday with their friends and family. The month features many highlights, like Christmas day and New Year’s Eve. Many people need to travel long distances to get to their holiday destinations. Seeing as the roads are busier than usual during this period, drivers can bear the tips below in mind to ensure their safety when travelling to their loved ones for December celebrations.

Plan your route in advance. Not knowing which road to take is frustrating in any event, but even more so when the roads are busier than usual. Take the time to view your route online or make sure that you are travelling with a GPS to guide you during your travels.

Planning your route also entails planning your stops. Driving long distances can be tiring. Making regular stops will help to ensure that you are awake and alert while behind the wheel. When you do make a stop, try to have a look at your car’s oil, water and fuel levels and briefly inspect the vehicle’s tyre pressure too. If something doesn’t look right to you, go to a petrol station or service centre so that a professional can have a look and assess the situation.

Don’t speed. Everyone on the road is more than likely on their way to family and loved ones too. Rather sit back and have a relaxed drive than speeding and putting yourself and your passengers in danger. If your car has cruise control, that is a great way to ensure that you maintain a safe speed. In general, do not try to take any unnecessary chances. Keep a safe following distance so that you have time to react to an incident if one should happen and do not overtake a car unless you are confident it is permissible and not risky.

Try to avoid any distractions while driving. Usually, entire families travel together in one car to get to their holiday destination. Be sure to ask your passengers to be conscientious towards you, the driver. Don’t have the radio on too loudly too as this is often a way that a driver’s attention is subconsciously diverted.

Make sure that you and your passengers are buckled up before you start driving. Seatbelts save lives and having them on should be standard practice in all cars, no matter who is driving or who is driving with you.

“Having a reliable car is also a crucial part of road safety. Especially for those who are planning on travelling long distance, having a car they can count on should be non-negotiable,” Chanele van Tonder, Hertz South Africa’s Marketing Executive, said.

Van Tonder mentioned that those who are in need of a reliable car for their December holiday trips should consider renting a car from a car rental company. This way, they can rest assured knowing that the car they will be driving has been serviced and its reliability is guaranteed.

“At Hertz South Africa, offer add-ons like GPS devices and baby seats on all bookings to help our clients reach their destinations in comfort and style,” said Van Tonder.

Although December is peak season for Hertz, Van Tonder said that they can still accommodate clients who wish to make last-minute bookings.