The travel tips that will get you safely to your destination

Travelling by car in South Africa and in our neighbouring states can present a lot of challenges to the average driver. However, there are many things that you can do to improve the safety of yourself and your family. Some of these have to do with your driving habits, others have to do with security equipment and general preparation. This article outlines some good safety preparation tips, some driving tips and general good advice on travelling in South Africa by car.

1. Check your vehicle before you leave
Window wipers are working properly and clean rain from the windscreen efficiently.
Check tyre tread and pressure – check spare tyre as well
Check brake fluid and water levels, as well as oil levels
Check brakes and brake pads.
Get plenty of sleep before setting off on a long journey

All passengers in the front and the back of the vehicle should be buckled in. Children and babies are especially vulnerable and should be secured.

3. Limit distractions.
More accidents are connected to distracted drivers than the 33 percent caused by drunk drivers. So do make sure you have a hands free system for cell phone calls whilst driving and do not even DREAM of sending text messages.

4. Don’t drive after drinking.
Just because you don’t feel “drunk” doesn’t mean your ability to drive isn’t impaired. Impairment due to alcohol use begins to occur at levels well below the legal limit.”

5. Don’t speed.
Think you’re saving yourself time? Driving 13 kms per hour over the speed limit will only save you a few minutes. The same speed increase, however, increases your risk for an accident as much as 50 percent.  Better be a few minutes late in this life, than 30 years too early in the next.

6. Check your mirrors.
When driving, your mirrors are your best friend. The visibility they provide is essential when pulling and backing out and changing lanes. When performing these tasks, be sure to check mirrors and look both ways over your shoulder.

7. Expect the worst.
Expect other drivers to make mistakes, and think about how you’d react. Don’t assume the car in front of you will stop safely at the approaching stop sign. Keep your distance and be ready to react if necessary.

8. Travel with lights on
Drive with headlights on at all times. It is easier for others to see you and for you to see others on the road and to judge distances.

9. Don’t drive if you are tired.
Stop immediately if you feel yourself getting drowsy. Stop every two hours. Change drivers if you can, otherwise get fresh air, refreshments and stretch your legs.

10. Be a “heads up” driver.
As your speed increases, so should your gaze down the road. Too many drivers get tunnel vision following the vehicle ahead of them, and do not look ahead to get the big picture of what traffic is doing. ‘Defensive’ drivers are trained to scan the road ahead and be geared up for any future contingencies, especially in heavy traffic. They are expected to keep a close eye on vehicle indicators and brake lights.

11. Give Truck drivers a Break, not the Brakes.
Big trucks are HEAVY, with some hauling tonnes of cargo. They can’t stop on a ticky so don’t cut them off in traffic, or zip into the lane ahead of them and suddenly hit your brakes. The truck will run over you like a steam roller, and it will be a closed casket funeral.

12. Keep a Safe Distance.
Although it may be possible to anticipate potential dangers by analyzing the conditions around, it is not possible to anticipate how a driver ahead may behave at a given point in time. So whilst South Africans are notorious for filling the 3 second gap you leave in front of you, keep a safe distance!

13. If you’re experiencing bad visibility either from fog or heavy rain, travel slowly with your hazard lights on and keep a longer distance than normal between yourself and the vehicle in front. If you decide to pull off the road, turn off your lights. Drivers who can’t see the road will be looking for other cars to follow. When they see your lights, they’ll drive toward you and may not realize you’re not moving in time to avoid a collision.

14. Maintain Presence of Mind
While you pay attention towards other cars and heavier vehicles around you, it is also important to scan the road for bicycles, motorcycles, pedestrians, potholes and animals that may come in your way while you are driving. Keep your wits about you and follow the rules of the road – don’t take any chances and don’t overtake on a solid white line or on a blind rise. Be courteous to other drivers and signal your thanks when they move out of your way to allow you to pass.

15. Road hazards in Swaziland

Roads in Swaziland are tarred and well maintained and there are very few vehicles. Do keep en eye out for cattle and goats and watch speed limits through villages. Also keep a sharp eye out for speed humps, which are placed on the main roads in the vicinity of schools.  Pedestrians tend to walk in the emergency lane of roads, so take care, especially at night.

Travel Safely…. But do Travel. It’s an experience that makes you richer.


For your interest, it is a 6 hour journey from Johannesburg to Swaziland’s Royal Jozini Big 6 Private Estate – and 4 hours from Durban. There are good stops on all roads for coffee and refreshments, so why not plan a road trip? Three days in the bush can feel like a full week’s holiday, so pick your dates, choose a lodge, pack the car and head out!

Email Lynda at or call 0027 82 5504614