The Observer (Kampala)

27 December 2012

Uganda: Taking Precaution Before Travel

Long journeys test even the most patient of drivers. For the case of many of you who might be engaged in these journeys, here are some tips to prepare you and your car for those long distances.

Test all parts

Test the windscreen and lights too. The windscreen reservoir should be full. Ensure the windscreen wipers are not damaged and windscreen cracks are repaired. Ensure all safety belts in the vehicle are in good shape. Safety belts are designed to secure occupants of the car from harm in case of a collision or abrupt stop.

Make sure your tyre tread is at least 1.6 mm. Worn-out tyres increase the risk of skidding on a wet surface.

Tyre pressure is also crucial because it can affect the steering and breaking. Tyres that are not properly inflated wear out quickly. The tyre pressure is also affected by the number of people in the car and the amount of luggage. Check the spare wheel and jack just in case.

Side mirrors

Adjust your side mirrors before starting the journey. Side mirrors allow the driver to see the precise condition and setting of the traffic on the road. They also help the driver to see areas outside his/her peripheral vision.

Check the engine

Checking the engine bay is vital. Make sure to keep an eye on coolant and all oil levels to avoid overheating.

Glove compartment

Have a notebook where you have recorded vital information such as next of kin and important telephone numbers like medical service centres. If you know your blood type and those of your passengers, have this written down as well.

Pack in advance

It is good to pack the car the night before setting off to avoid the last-minute packing chaos and stress. Majority of the accidents happen in the first few hours after leaving the house due to this panic. So, save yourself the hassle by planning a checklist ahead of the journey. As the driver, the last thing you want on any car journey is to depart with a frazzled mind.

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