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10% of accidents occur as a result of “vehicle error”

When it comes to road safety – vehicle maintenance plays a crucial role, especially since road deaths in South Africa are among the highest in the world.

Johan Jonck from Arrive Alive states that most road accidents are attributable to human error or disregard for the rules of the road. Unsafe following distances and unsafe overtaking, speeding, drunk driving and driver fatigue – to name just a few.

However, 10% of accidents occur as a result of ‘vehicle error’ – when poor vehicle maintenance overlaps with human error. As winter sets in, vehicle maintenance becomes even more important.

Midas – a leader in the replacement automotive parts industry, knows how important it is to keep your car well maintained. Not only for your own road safety, but for the safety of others too.

Winter temperatures in South Africa can have a real impact on your vehicle,”

says Michael Turnbull, Midas Group, Marketing Manager.

“The cold season magnifies existing problems such as hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling. At Midas, we care about the safety of all road users, and we align ourselves with reputable brands so we can stock quality products for our consumers’ needs.”

According to the Automobile Association (AA), the top five things that should be well maintained in winter are:

  1. Vehicle’s cooling systems (radiators)
  2. Car batteries
  3. Windscreen and windscreen wipers,
  4. Tyres
  5. Lights
1. USE ANTIFREEZE

Your car’s cooling system protects the engine against damage by ensuring that it operates within normal temperature ranges.

Antifreeze lowers the freezing point of the coolant and raises its boiling point – ensuring that your car’s cooling  system works effectively.

An added bonus is that Antifreeze also makes it very easy to notice any leaks in the system.

2. CARE FOR YOUR BATTERY

Batteries tend to give more problems during winter due to the increased amps drawn by the starter to crank the cold engine.The best way to avoid winter car troubles is to ensure your car battery is in good working order:

  • Keep the water level topped up, making sure you only use distilled water.
  • Clean the terminals regularly with warm soapy water and remove any acid or dirt which may have accumulated on the battery case.
3. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR WINDSCREEN AND WIPERS

If your car has to stay out in the cold, there will probably be a layer of frost blanketing the windscreen in the mornings.

Don’t be tempted to use warm water to get rid of the ice! This may cause cracks in the glass. Rather use a scraper – an old credit card works well.

Wiper blades must be in good condition and need to be inspected regularly. Don’t use your wipers to clear mud and soil from the windscreen – this could scratch the glass.

4MAKE SURE YOUR TYRES ARE IN GOOD SHAPE!

Tyres must always be in an overall good condition – not only the tread, but the sidewalls as well.

Maintaining tyres at the correct pressures is of the utmost importance for ensuring road safety. Correct pressure maximises your tyres road-holding ability and tyre life.

5. CHECK YOUR LIGHTS

Winter usually means more driving in the dark, so it’s very important that all the lights on the vehicle are in good working condition and that the focus of the headlights are correctly adjusted.

As a precaution – keep a spare set of globes in the cubbyhole, as well as jumper cables, a torch, a blanket, extra clothes, bottled water and a basic first-aid kit.