South Africans are social animals who work hard and play hard. As we draw to the close of the year, we gratefully accept any opportunity to celebrate and socialize. We love this about our nation and encourage it within reasonable limits.
The chances of accidents increase as we approach the end of the year, for a number of reasons, including:
- We’ve worked hard all year – we’re tired and distracted.
- There’s an increase in social functions, with an increase in alcohol intake.
- We’re stressed in different ways by trying to wrap up the year, ensuring we have met all our goals for the year and at the same time trying to plan for the holidays as well as for the next year.
- Some of us may be feeling the weight of financial strain as we want to provide for our loved ones but are financially constrained.
- As people travel to be with family and friends, we are travelling longer distances on roads we may not be familiar with.
While the very purpose of our firm is to help victims of accidents, we’d rather accidents were avoided where possible. Accidents do happen, but as we approach the holiday season we’d like to highlight a few ways that you can prevent becoming another victim, or statistic on the roads or in your home.
So, with this in mind, we thought it a good idea to provide a list of ways in which you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe over the festive season.
Accept that people are distracted and/or possibly intoxicated
This way you can prepare yourself mentally to be more patient and to try and be more tolerant of other people’s driving habits. Don’t ruin your mood by other people’s poor judgements, rather focus on keeping yourself on the right track.
By keeping an awareness of your surroundings on the road at all times, you are better positioned to be able to act appropriately if required.
Remember that a car hijacker’s best form of attack is the element of surprise, so be alert at all times.
If you live inland, the roads are bound to become emptier as more and more people escape to coastal areas to unwind. This is not an excuse to be reckless on the roads. Enjoy the break in traffic, but keep your wits about you.
For those who live at the coast, your lives are typically turned up-side-down as holiday makers invade your space. Try to think of the benefits to your local economy rather than the temporary irritation. Be patient and exercise tolerance.
Crime statistics increase over this period – take the necessary precautions
Criminals understand how distracted people are at this time of year too and they capitalize on this. Take some time out to ensure that your insurance is up to date and review your security. Test your alarms, beams, cameras to ensure they are all working as expected.
Remind your children to take necessary precautions online and not to ‘chat’ to people they don’t know online.
If you’re going away
Planning goes a long way
By now you will probably have done the costing exercise to establish the best way to travel to your destination, depending on the distance and the number of people travelling.
Should you decide to go by car, try to have a pre-holiday check and ensure that you inflate your tyres correctly for the trip. Don’t forget to inflate and check your spare tyre. Keep a simple first-aid kit in the car as well as an emergency triangle to warn other cars in the event of a break-down.
Plan your stops along the way to ensure that you get adequate breaks. Also plan where you will stop to refuel.
Ensure that your mobile phone is charged so that you can call for help, if required.
If someone else is going to be driving your car be sure to check that with your insurance company.
Please read our blog on what to do in the event of a car accident.
If you are flying, or going by bus or train be sure to arrive in adequate time.
If you will be renting a car, remember to bring your license with you.
Don’t be a ‘loskop’
You’re on holiday, but criminals are in their peak season. Don’t leave your personal belonging unattended. Take as little as possible to the beach. Is it really necessary to have your cellphone with you?
A few other tips
You’re bound to be in crowded places during the festive season. Write your phone number on your child’s arm so that if they get lost in the crowd, someone can easily contact you.
Drinking and Driving
There are no more excuses. If you have enjoyed a few drinks, please call a friend or make use of public transport.
Remember the people who keep you safe during the year
If you live or work in a security estate, complex, boomed or patrolled area please remember the security guards who keep you safe. If you have the means, it may be nice to set some money aside to pass on, or perhaps to provide some small token of appreciation.
A note about pets during the silly season
Our extended furry family are often overlooked at this time of year, but this could be a costly mistake.
The silly season is extremely stressful on our pets too.
As our own social schedule fills up, our daily routines change and we may spend less time with our animals, causing them to be stressed. A stressed dog can be extremely unpredictable. Please be sure to give your pets the amount of attention they deserve. Make an effort to walk and socialize your pets as much as possible so that they do not lash out and bite visitors to your home.
In addition, parties and fireworks can turn the most placid family pet into a terrified, aggressive beast. If you cannot be with your pets at night, do your best to ensure they are left in a comfortable place, if possible with a TV or radio on for ambient noise.
If you’re going away and are not putting your pets into kennels/cattery or other suitable care, please ensure to have someone responsible take care of your pets during your time away.
If you take your pets away with you you must make sure that there is adequate place for your pet to stay comfortably and that the area is suitably secured.
Holiday Emergency Contacts List
For your convenience, we’ve created a handy holiday emergency contacts list. You can print it out and complete the information. Keep it in a central place and let everyone know where it is.
Let the silly season begin
Have a blast over the holiday season. Be silly but be smart – ensure that all your doors are locked, your brakes checked, you have a designated driver and your kitty is safe and secure. Now you can go ahead, relax, enjoy and be silly, and safe in the knowledge that you will start off the new year with all your loved ones happy and taken care of.