(By: Serapelo Mofokeng, MiWay Insurance Head of Client Services)

“It will never happen to me!” Is a flawed philosophy that many of us live our lives believing somehow that we are immune to the misfortunes bestowed upon others.

As a result, many South African drivers remain in the dark when it comes to the basics of road safety, trading pragmatism for optimism when it comes to roadside know-how.

Given South Africa’s extremely high accident rate and the difficult road conditions faced during the tempestuous summer months, your car’s ability to perform at its peak is of utmost importance. Keeping your car in top shape requires more than just an annual service. Regular maintenance and checks are equally critical and could end up being lifesavers in the event of an accident.

Equally important is the ability to change a tyre, as unexpected punctures can leave you vulnerable to opportunistic crimes while awaiting roadside assistance. Rather than taking your chances, it’s best to take action.

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As such, here are some key tips to help you brush up on your roadside acumen: 

Changing a tyre

While it might seem like a daunting undertaking for newbies, changing a tyre is in fact quite a simple task and could end up being a lifesaver should you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere. Watch this short video on how to change a tyre – it becomes less daunting once you’ve tried it.

 

Of course, this process becomes a lot less simple should you not be in possession of a tyre changing kit, or if your spare wheel is in a state of disrepair. It is vital that you always have both available to you

Checking your tyre tread

Worn tyres can pose a significant danger to any driver, particularly in wet and slippery conditions, when grip is of utmost importance. It is important to give your tyres a regular once-over, paying close attention to the tread grooves, which you will find in several locations around the tyre. These should be clearly differentiated from the surrounding tread ribs. Should there be any overlap between the two, or if you are not able to make out the difference, it is time to change your tyre. Watch this video to know exactly what to look out for.

Checking your oil

Your oil is an important part of your engine, acting as a lubricant between its moving parts. Should your oil levels drop too low, this can lead to friction and cause your engine to overheat. Keeping an eye on your oil levels should be something you do at regular intervals. Watch this video below to ensure you’re checking your levels correctly.

 

If your car’s been running, it’s best to wait at least ten minutes or so before performing this check. Also, be sure to regularly scan underneath your car, looking out for any potential oil leaks. If you notice any pooling of oil underneath your car, head to your mechanic as soon as possible.

Preparation is key when it comes to staying safe on the road. Because while we cannot prevent the occurrence of flat tyres and accidents, we can reduce their likelihood by introducing these simple skills to our repertoire.

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MiWay is a licensed non-life insurer and Financial Services Provider (FSP 33970).