Take Note: new 0% blood-alcohol limit from June 2020

You’ve probably noticed additional roadblocks and checkpoints on South African roads already. This is due to the new legislation that will be implemented in June 2020. Currently, your blood may not have an alcohol content of more than 0.05%, but with the new legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers, it will be 0%.

This law forms part of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act, which was proposed by Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula in November 2019. “We are going to be intolerant to drinking and driving. We’re going beyond saying there’s some percentage – it must be zero percent. It’s going to be zero. No alcohol in the blood – and the law is going to bite with regard to that,” he said.

Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR) says it supports the incoming law and that it will help put an end to the confusion around the legal blood-alcohol limit. Mbalula added that the new legislation received overwhelming support from citizens; out of 500 000 comments received, only one allegedly queried the zero-tolerance rule.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) raised the following concern. “The regulations say those who lose their licences due to the accumulation of the maximum demerit points may be informed by registered post or electronic means, but the AARTO Act says only registered post may be used. This makes the regulation void.” OUTA also listed 22 errors in cross-referencing in the regulations saying that the way the regulations were drafted makes it difficult to read and interpret.

What will happen if you get caught?

With the new stricter drunk driving laws, you’ll also see the introduction of the much-discussed driving demerit system. According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), those over the limit will be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence of Liquor.

With the reclassification, drunk driving will be a schedule 5 offence placing it in the same schedule of crimes such as murder or rape. Persons arrested for drunk driving will spend a minimum of 7 days behind bars before they may be considered for bail, which can be denied in some situations. Depending on your prior convictions, you could face a two-year prison sentence, a R2000 fine, or both. You will receive a criminal record, and you could lose your driver’s license, or have it suspended.

With the demerit system, a driver may incur no more than 12 demerit points without their license being suspended. On the 13th point, and every point thereafter, your license will be suspended for three months for every point over 12. If you incur 15 demerit points, for example, the suspension period will be nine months.

Over the 2019 festive season, almost 25 000 drunk drivers were arrested by the police for drunk driving. During a media briefing on festive road stats, Police Minister, Bheki Cele announced that alcohol consumption was at the centre of most crimes.

Dr Leana Olivier, CEO of FARR, said, “A zero-tolerance limit, within a country where we have got such a big problem with drunken driving, is most probably the way to go.” This new law could be the end of the road for drunk drivers in South Africa. To be safe, people under the influence should instead consider using a ride-hailing application such as Uber or Bolt.

Ways to entertain the kids on long road trips.

Ways to entertain the kids on long road trips.

If you’re going on a long road trip with the family, the part you most likely dread is the children getting bored or agitated. Nothing makes a trip more hellish than a couple of kids going a bit cray-cray. And nothing makes you more thoughtful on the idea of abandoning them to fend for themselves in the Karoo… while thinking maybe a Maltese Poodle would have been a better idea.

Well, we’re here to stop the Wild Children of the Klein Karoo, because once that starts, they end up forming gangs while armed with sharpened sticks. If you’ve read the book Lord of the Flies, you know how well that works out. Speaking of books…

 

Audio books!

Children love being read stories. And there’s a way you can have stories read to them while you focus on driving. The magic of audio books. Simply figure out what exciting children’s adventure they might get into, and download the audio book of it, and play it through your phone’s Bluetooth to your car’s stereo.

If they’ve read “everything”, find the classics: Harry Potter, anything for kids by Roald Dahl, Percy Jackson, etc. And who knows, it might have the same effect as reading to them at night time does. It’ll help lull them to sleep.

Speaking of sleep…

 

Send them to La La Land!

You know that expression, “Tummy full, eyes closed”? No? Maybe because it is an Afrikaans phrase typically spoken in die taal. But never mind. The saying is truly wise and presents an excellent solution.

Simply keep them as far away from the sugary snack foods, and during the lunch break, encourage them to eat a big hearty meal. Anything with plenty of protein should do the trick, as protein is quite complex for the body to break down, and so it tends to induce sleepiness – especially in kids, and especially during the afternoon segment of the drive.

Big meal, and you’ll be watching them fall asleep in no time.

Speaking of watching…

 

You should invest in screens.

They’ve been around for a while. Screens that hook up to your infotainment system in your car. They go on the back of the front seats. For decades, parents have learnt that TV is one of the best ways to keep the kids out of trouble. Well, the same principle works for your car. DVD or whatnot entertainment will keep them fascinated for hours (hopefully).

Some even feature the ability to play games on them. Which is even more immersive and involving.

Speaking of games…

You don’t have to bust the bank.

There are a lot of games you can play as a family.

Here’s some ideas:

The Car Colour Game. Everybody picks a colour. Then every time you see a car with that colour, you win a point. Whoever has the most points by the next service station stop wins the round. Hot tip: ban the colour white to make the contest more fair.

Then there’s classic 20 Questions. You know, the game where you pick something that’s either an animal, mineral, or vegetable, and everyone else has 20 questions to guess what it is. You can only give ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, so it’s a bit like ‘hot or cold’, the object hide-and-seek game.

Then there’s a game normally reserved for the fire place. It’s the Co-lab Game, where everyone collaborates to tell a story. Each person in the game gets a paragraph, approximately, to tell a story, before ending their turn and the next person picks up on that story and continues it as they see fit. It can lead to quite crazy outcomes.

It’s basically the apparent technique of the new Star Wars trilogy. Which just shows, it is a game that is best played off the silver screen.

Good thing they haven’t done that with the Marvel comic book movies.

Speaking of comics…

 

Get the kids engrossed in some old school comics.

Reading in a car can be a jarring experience because of the motion. But comic books are much easier to read, considering the frugality of text and reliance on pictures to tell a story. If you’re looking to save money, and get more bang for your buck, one thing you can do is visit a second-hand book store. They often are packed to the brim with comic books that are inexpensive compared to brand new editions.

There you go! Some great ways to keep the kids entertained and keep you sane. Happy holidays, everyone!

Stuck in the Middelberg of Nowhere.

[A guest blogger tells us about his unfortunate adventure – stuck in the Middelberg of nowhere…]

Do you know how to build a camp fire? I don’t. I just ended up burning my socks. And the arid wastelands shouldn’t rain. I was caught in a downpour: there weren’t just cats and dogs showering on my head, there were coyotes and pumas.

Drenched, sitting on a rock, beside a fast deteriorating car, I couldn’t help thinking about the Netflix shows I could be watching now with takeout from Uber Eats.

One day I will return to this place with an army at my back. And I will build condos here, I thought to myself.

Eventually, after trying to Bear Grylls myself out of the situation, I stumbled on a small town. Don’t remember what it’s called. It’s barely a town. There were kids playing in the dusty street, and they stopped to stare at me. It’s like they’d never seen a stranger before, because they started throwing stones at me and kicking my shins. Where’s a handy crab-apple tree when you need one?

“Meneer?”

I looked around. There was an old man with a gargantuan Adam’s apple. He looked weathered. Typhoon-weather weathered.

“Do you have a landline? I can’t get signal here,” I said, waving my cellphone around like an epileptic conquered by Julius Seizure.

“Ek weet nie, Meneer.”

I mimicked a telephone, one with handles and physical buttons, and pushed them frantically. He nodded, then walked into the main building. Something hit my leg. I thought it was another kid kicking me, but it was just a tumbleweed.

We entered the building, and I saw what passed for a phone in these parts. It was a telegraph. You know, those machines big in the 1880s you could go beep-beep-beeeep-beeeep with? I started to cry.

This is all because I used a website I’ll call TakingChances.co.za. I wanted to buy a good pre-owned car. And it all looked tip-top. I checked. I went under the hood. I kicked the tyres. I did a body slam against it – no clickety clanks. All the things I’ve seen on TV. I’m like a professional.

The guy insisted his mom only drove it to the shops. I should have asked if they were located in Timbuktu. Nope. Can’t trust anybody.

Except BuyCentre. I should have just downloaded the App, seen what they had on offer – it’s because I forgot they don’t just buy your vehicle at a premium offering from over sixty dealers. They sell cars too. And they’re part of TransUnion, a company with a truckload of trust to their name.

Instead, I got scammed. Resulting in me hitting S.O.S. on the telegraph machine over and over and over in the middle of nowhere.

I heard, an hour later, a neigh.

Frikkie, from a slightly bigger town close by, brought the town’s only horse to my rescue.

Now, as we ride to the nearest population centre, I’ve finally got signal again. At the speed of one horse-power, which is one horse-power more than I got from not using the BuyCentre app.

When it comes to buying cars from TakingChances.co.za, I say neigh.

Travelling with kids

When it comes to safety on the roads, one of the most important things for parents is the safety of their children in the car. Below is a list of things to keep in mind when travelling with children.

Buckle in!

One of the most important things is to ensure that your child is properly buckled in their car seat, or if they are older and no longer use a car seat, are properly wearing their seatbelts. Not only have studies shown that child safety seats that are correctly installed can reduce the need for hospitalisation by 69% after a road crash, but it is also mandatory according to law that all children under the age of 3 must travel in a car seat.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Infants should ride rear-facing until they are at least 1 year old. It’s best to keep toddlers rear-facing as long as possible.
  • When your child has outgrown their seat, use a forward-facing safety seat with a proper full harness. This should be used as long as possible, which is until they’ve exceeded the weight/height limit for the seat.
  • Once they’ve outgrown their convertible safety seat, it’s time to get them a boosted seat until they are at least 1.3m tall.
  • Once they are tall enough to wear a seatbelt, it’s best to still ride with them in the back until they are around 13 years old.

When it comes to adult seatbelts, be sure to adjust the belt so that the lap belt crosses their upper thighs and the diagonal belt crossed the upper chest at a point between the next and shoulder.

Keep them busy!

As most parents have learned, bored children in a car can lead to long distance drives to feel like an eternity. Keeping the children busy can make travelling much easier for both the parents and the children. Here are a few options to keep the little ones busy:

  1. Download a few episodes of their favourite show or their favourite movie from Netflix onto your phone or iPad
  2. Play a few rounds of ‘I Spy’
  3. Count cars! Pick a colour or a type of car and the 1st one to see 10 of them wins the round
  4. Hum a song! Give each person in the car a turn to hum a song to get the others guessing
  5. And of course – the silent game. Keep this 1 for the last stretch of the trip when all you need is peace and quiet. The game is quite easy – the 1st one to talk is the loser. Get a small prize for the person who can keep quiet the longest

And of course, here are a few general tips:

  • Always keep a first aid kit in the car ready. You can also make your own DIY kit with everything you might need
  • Long road trips can get quite expensive with petrol costs and costs for food, so try to pack in enough food and snacks for the trip
  • Pack a small bag that’s easy to get to with a fresh set of clothes
  • Stop every 2 or 3 hours to let the children stretch their legs. Plan your trip ahead to see where the best places are to stop for a few minutes
  • Take your toddler’s favourite blanket and pillow with. This can make the trip more comfortable for them, especially when they fall asleep in their car seat

Do you have any tips you would add to the list?

It’s time to get your car ready for winter

With winter approaching, it’s time to get your car winter ready. The last thing you want is to get stuck next to the road in cold, rainy weather.

With modern technology most cars don’t require winterizing routines, but rather safe than sorry, right? Luckily most of the items can be done by yourself, but some items should rather be left to a mechanic.

  1. Make sure your wipers are in working order. It’s crucial that you can see properly what’s happening in front of you while driving.
  2. Make sure your tires are the correct pressure. You might want to check your tire pressure more often in the colder weather to ensure that they are in perfect condition. The air pressure in your tires might drop a bit due to the colder weather. A properly inflated tire gives you the best possible contact between the road and your tires, so remember to get them checked!
  3. Make sure that there is enough water fluid in your car. You might need to use more water in winter to keep your windshield clean to ensure that you can see clear.
  4. Winter can be hard on your battery, so make sure your battery is working and that there are no issues that might cause big problems in the colder months to come.

Luckily, we do not experience severe cold weather conditions in South Africa comparing to other countries where temperatures drop far below zero on a regular basis, but it’s still important to make sure your car is in top shape to avoid any problems that could have been avoided.

What other tips would you add to the list above?

5 tips for creating the perfect road trip playlist

There is always another public holiday on the horizon that gives you the opportunity to take a road trip and get away from it all. Long journeys definitely need a soundtrack that perfectly sets the mood, so the perfect playlist is a must when going on a long journey. Here are our top tips to create the best playlist!

 

1 Know your audience

When creating your playlist, you should know what the people you’re travelling with are into in terms of their music taste. You can even ask for suggestions prior to the trip. A good playlist has something that everyone can enjoy and sing along to.

 

2 There is no limit

When creating your playlist, don’t stress if your playlist is so long that it could never be listened to in one trip. No one wants to run out of music and having an extended playlist to shuffle through means you and your passengers have a better chance of not being bored!

 

3 It’s okay to be cheesy

Everyone has a few guilty pleasures or REALLY cheesy songs that they like, so why not add it to your playlist? Especially if there’s songs that a lot of people know and can sing along to. It’s a confined space so belting out ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey is completely acceptable.

 

4 Keep the goodies for the end

You might add some club hits in your playlist and that’s alright (and recommended) but keep them for the end of your journey. Long trips can be draining so having some major hits for the final legs of your trip will keep you energised and alert.

 

5 Know your car and be flexible

Know the car you’re going to be travelling in. Find out if you need an aux cord or if you need any special gadgets for your device. It’s also completely fine if someone wants to take a break from your playlist and listen to something else. A great trip and playlist is a group effort!

Don’t know where to start to create your playlist? Well, we made one just for you! Click here to download the perfect playlist for your road trip. You can thank us later 😉

When to buy a new car

Lately you hear it all over the news: Drive a new car every 3 years! But if you aren’t the type to trade in your old for a new model every 3 years, you might find yourself craving the new car smell whenever a friend offers to give you a ride. Don’t wait for something to go wrong before selling your car! While the exact time to sell and buy are debatable, there are some things you definitely should be aware of.

 

Know what your car is worth

Your first step in selling your car starts with some research and understanding what the market value for your car is. We have an app that does just that! It lets you fill in your car’s details and sends you an accurate estimate of what your car is worth. If you’re interested in our app, click here to read more. Not convinced you want to sell it to us just yet? Shop around, just know that we offer the best deals compared to our competitors. #JustSaying

 

When do you sell?

As a rule of thumb, the best advice is to actually hold on to the car until it reaches its break-even point, which is when the trade value of the car equals the amount still outstanding on your vehicle financing. Normally, the break-even point on a vehicle finance agreement over 72 months usually arrives between 48 and 52 months into the contract. If you don’t, you might be faced with additional charges to the vehicle finance agreement. The reason for this is that the value of the car would’ve depreciated faster than the instalments that you’ve been paying.

Just remember that you want to sell your car before the warranty runs out.  The idea is to hold on to the value of the vehicle and by selling it sooner, rather than later, you reduce the chance of the value dropping dramatically.

 

Questions to ask yourself

  • Is the car costing you more than it’s worth?
  • Has the brand been discontinued, resulting in spiked repair costs and parts sourcing?
  • Is the warranty about to run out?
  • Is your mileage more than 250 000km?

Let’s leave you with this: Most cars depreciate at a rate of 15-20% per year, and by year 5, your vehicle will generally be worth half what you originally paid for it. That’s why a car seller must always remember that a vehicle is only worth the amount of money that someone is prepared to pay for it. Luckily for you, if you decide to sell your car through us, we guarantee to buy your vehicle for the quoted amount on the app. That’s how confident we are that our prices are the best!

What to do in the event of an accident

It’s not something we wish will ever happen to us or a loved one, but we need to be prepared to deal with a fender bender if it ever does occur. As traumatic as the event can be, there are some legal requirements you need to keep in mind. Here’s what you should do in the event of an accident.

  1. Stop immediately after the accident and turn on your hazards. Don’t move the car, expect if it’s obstructing traffic and you’ve marked the original position of the vehicles with spray paint or chalk. Taking pictures also works.
  2. Get out of the car and inspect the damage to the vehicles and the extent of the injuries of the other persons involved. If there are any injuries, call an ambulance and the police.
  3. Take photos of the accident from different angles and closeups of any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles for insurance purposes.
  4. Get all the relevant information from the people involved, as well as the people who witnessed the accident:
    • Full names and surname
    • ID numbers
    • Home, business and cellphone numbers
    • Physical addresses
    • E-mail addresses
    • Vehicle registration numbers
    • Details of the police officers, ambulance personnel and tow truck drivers if necessary
  5. Get your story straight. Where did it happen, street names, persons involved, did they appear to be intoxicated, talking on the phone, driving too fast, what were the weather conditions like? These are all things you need to consider when making your statement to the police.
  6. Above all else: NEVER ADMIT LIABILITY FOR THE ACCIDENT. Make your statement to the police but don’t sign a written statement without first consulting your insurance company or an attorney.
  7. Does your vehicle insurance include roadside assistance and towing services? Then don’t let a private towing service tow your car other than your insurance provider’s authorised towing service. If not, always ask for a quote from the operator before allowing them to tow away your vehicle and remember to get their contact details as well.
  8. Report the incident to the police within 24 hours of the accident taking place.
  9. Report the incident to your car insurance provider. Even if you don’t plan on making a claim you still need to report the incident. The other party might wish to make a claim against your policy.

Just remember that failing to stop after an accident could lead to jail time! So rather be safe on the roads, always remember to keep enough traveling distance between you and the person in front of you and never drive while being intoxicated or distracted by a mobile device to avoid an accident altogether.

How To Plan For The Perfect Road Trip

It’s that time of the year again: school holidays are around the corner, leave days have been approved and you find yourself feeling more exhausted than you’ve felt in years. We feel like a well-deserved holiday is in order! So, instead of jet-setting across the country by plane, why not plan the perfect road trip instead? The open road is calling your name and we’re ready to answer it with a loud ‘Hell Yeah’! But before you and the family hit the road, you’ll need to get all your ducks in a row.

Map out the routes 

We’ve all heard the saying ‘It’s not about the end destination, it’s how you get there’ and booking your accommodation is only half the job done. Deciding on your route and pit-stops along the way are just as important. We suggest sharing these details with your other passengers, whether they’re kids or adults, having everyone on the same page and having the same expectations will make the trip much more bearable – especially if you’re in for a long drive!

GPS is definitely a must, but we do suggest scoping out the route before you hit the road. GPS services aren’t always 100% accurate and can show different routes to the same place, outdated de-tours or fuel stations that have long since closed down. Be sure to google the places you intend to visit as it will also help you budget by providing cost estimates (gas, toll-gates, overnight fees) required for the trip.

Your plan should also include a list of attractions you want to see along the way, but be prepared to skip a few if you have to. You never know what will happen on the open road. It’s also important that these pitstops are broken up into do-able driving segments!

Some solid road trip advice

  • Fill up the car the day before you leave so you don’t find yourself in a mad rush on the morning of.
  • Make sure your car is in a good condition to travel. Check the engine, oil levels, tyre tread and that you have all the tools you need to change a spare tyre if the need arises.
  • Don’t overload the car. If you do pack too heavy, your car will be heftier on fuel as well. P.S. if you pack light enough you’ll have more space to bring souvenirs back from your trip!

Snacks

While you’ve budgeted for food spending, it does tend to get out of hand sooner rather than later. We suggest packing some healthy and fast snacks in a cooler before-hand and passing it out to the passengers on demand. While it does add some weight to the car, it will keep the food costs lower. Some pre-cooked favourites include fried chicken pieces, toasted cheese and biltong sticks! Yum! By packing your own food, you actually get to control the nutrition of your and your family as well. Double win!

Entertainment

Keep the excitement of the trip going with anything from music, audiobooks and fun games like ‘I Spy’ and ‘Add on story telling’. We love the idea of creating a good CD mix with a lot of different genres of music on it. Is your group having trouble deciding on who gets to be the DJ? No problem, play a road trip game and let the winner decide which songs he/she wants to hear. It’s not only to keep the other passengers entertained, it’s an easy way to keep your boredom at bay that might lead to exhaustion and possibly nodding off while driving.

Snap a pic

There’s nothing like documenting your travels quite like taking a pic of the landmark, event or just random silliness. Snap a pic and share it on social media to ensure it’s saved on the cloud for life!

Regardless of where you’re going, there’s pretty much always something interesting going on. Turn boring trips into interesting ones and be fully prepared before hitting the road this holiday season.

 

 

Getting Your Car Road Trip Ready

The most anticipated road trip of the year is finally here – FINALLY.  But before you hit pedal to the metal and head off on a holiday of a lifetime, make sure you tick off all the car maintenance checks. Your family’s safety always comes first, so make this one a priority!

Check your fluids

The petrol attendants will be able to assist you with checking some of these fluids but the best is still to book it in for a quick look-over with a panel beater or car dealership. Remember to fill up your car with the specified amount of oil, and never surpass the hatch marks. Checks include:

  • Engine oil (should be clear and not have a burnt smell)
  • Coolant (make sure the car is cool when you fill it with coolant (antifreeze) that is either pre-made 50/50 (half water/half coolant), or coolant you need to make 50/50 yourself
  • Transmission fluid (check the fluid while the car is still running and don’t surpass the hatch marks when you fill it)
  • Brake fluid (check the side of the cylinder for a guideline of where to fill)
  • Power steering fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid

Check your belts, hoses and wipers

These checks include v-belts, serpentine belts, coolant hoses, windshield washer hoses, vacuum hoses, and possibly your timing belt if your car is due. Look out for worn hoses that might indicate vacuum leaks and replace wipers with cracks, fraying or missing teeth.

Check your tires

Make sure you inflate the tires to the recommended pressure and have plenty of tread before you tread the open road. It’s important to also check for uneven wear on your tires and to test the thickness of the tread. Make sure your spare tyre is also full of air and that you have all the tools necessary for any roadside repairs – just in case!

Check the electronics

This includes your front lights, reverse, brake and interior lights, turn signals, hazards and horn. Don’t have a second person to help you check your break and reverse lights? Back up to a wall and watch for a reflection against the smooth surface.

Check the battery

Your battery terminals need to be free from corrosion and the cables tight and snug-fitting to the battery. Check if the wires have any rub throughs as this can cause some unwanted sparks.

Don’t get sidetracked by the excitement – keep safe and be responsible while travelling this holiday season. Do you have any checks you conduct before heading out on a trip? Leave a comment below and let us know.