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Vehicles

Tips

Green Driving Tips

While cars are wonders of engineering, and essential to our everyday life, they are a threat to life on Earth. In the U.S, about 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from cars and light trucks such as SUVs. If you are making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint, one of the most important things you can do is to drive greener. Making small changes to your driving style, and how you use your car while driving, can make big differences to your environmental impact.

  1. Best Practices
    Driving technique has a lot to do with your fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops and stick to the speed limit. Not only does speeding and jerky driving kill your KPL (kilometres per litre), it's also dangerous. As a general rule of thumb, keep your engine speeds between 1,200–3,000 RPMs, and up-shift between 2,000–2500 RPMs. Also, drive wise and minimise unnecessary kilometres by doing errands in one trip, getting good directions, and calling ahead.
  2. Regular Servicing
    Get the car serviced regularly (according to the manufacturer's schedule) to maintain engine efficiency.
  3. Windows Up
    Where possible, drive with the windows up to reduce drag and make your fuel consumption more efficient.
  4. Maintain Pressure
    Check tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys. Under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and so use more fuel. Getting tyre pressures right is important for safety too. Refer to the handbook as pressures will normally have to be increased for heavier loads.
  5. Lose weight
    Extra weight means extra fuel, so if there's stuff in the boot you don't need on the journey, take it out and leave it at home.
  6. Don't Rush
    Try not to be in a hurry. Stressed driving can be erratic and is uneconomical. Simply relax and try to enjoy the trip.
  7. Orange Means Stop, Not Rush
    Try not to beat the lights. The chances are that if you hit a red light and then try to beat all the following lights, you will rush but miss them anyway. If you drive at a more sedate speed, you will usually find that by the time you reach the next light it will have turned green again.
  8. Easy On The Aircon
    Air conditioning should be limited as it uses more fuel.
  9. Shut Down
    Switch off the engine if you think you will stationary for more than two minutes.
  10. Slow Your Roll
    Keep your speed down as driving at 80–90 kph means your emissions will be lowest. Driving over 100 kph will rapidly increase your emissions.
  11. Don't Show Off
    Avoid unnecessary revving or idling of the engine as this uses more fuel.
  12. Easy On The Breaks
    Harsh acceleration and braking can use up to 30% more fuel and can cause increased wear and tear on the vehicle.
  13. Maintain Speed
    Control your speed. Speed limits are there to be observed, but did you know that travelling at less than 25 kph creates the most pollution? As your speed increases up to 90 kph, your level of pollution decreases.

For more green advice, join our Green Office Week Competition.

Travellers' Safety Tips

Don't become a victim of crime

In an effort to reduce your risk of being a victim of crime, here are some hints and tips you can use. These tips are not designed to make you paranoid, rather to empower you and give you information you can use every day.

Criminals are observant.

You can never be sure when you are being watched. Even when loading your luggage at the airport. This information can be forwarded to another criminal at your presumed destination. When you arrive at a shopping centre or other public place, do not put valuables in your boot when in the parking area. You are overtly advertising to any observer that you have something of value to steal.

What can you do to avoid this?

Break the routine. Avoid travelling directly from the airport to a shopping centre. Instead, deposit your luggage and valuables such as laptop computers at your hotel or guesthouse before going shopping. This may seem inconvenient, but not as inconvenient as having to replace your valuable items, passports, etc.

When driving or even when parked at a lot, do not keep valuables such as cellphones or handbags in view i.e. on the seat next to you as this presents an easy target for a "smash and grab" type robbery. Again, if you take the time to safely store items out of sight or in the boot, you are reducing the opportunity for a criminal to strike.

Please do not take for granted the presence of car guards or the fact that you may have parked in a secure, covered parking area. Take your normal, reasonable precautions such as carrying all valuable items with you. Leave nothing to steal.

Do not be complacent. A criminal does not know the meaning of, "I was just going in for two minutes..." It takes a skilled criminal half that time to rid you of your property.

Out driving:

Familiarise yourself with the routes you need to follow to your destination if the roads or areas are unfamiliar to you. Ask a reliable local for information as to which roads or areas to avoid, or what special precautions you can take if those areas are unavoidable. Note that GPS-type aids are indiscriminate to "safe" and "unsafe" routes in and around an unfamiliar area. As a back up, get accurate directions from a reliable person to assist you in getting to your destination safely.

Please make sure you get the telephone number of your local South African Police Service (SAPS) station. They will be able to advise you on information such as routes and areas to steer clear of and can assist you in an emergency. (Or phone the SAPS emergency line 10111)

Do not stop on freeways to take a cellphone call. These are prime areas for criminals to strike. Rather take the next exit and stop at a safe place such as a petrol station to make the call.

Breakdowns:

As a preventative measure, before a journey, always make sure the vehicle you are using is mechanically sound and has plenty of fuel. This will ensure that your chances of breaking down will be drastically limited – especially important if you are travelling in an unfamiliar area.

Separate your cash from other items such as your ID book, passport, driver's licence and bank cards. If you become the unfortunate victim of a robbery, a criminal will more than likely demand your wallet, bag and/or cash. If they are separate, the items that are valuable to you can be retained. Keep a cheap back up cellphone hidden somewhere. (Men, hide it in your sock, ladies in your underwear.) If your phone is stolen, you can still call for help with the back-up phone. Another idea is to hide your main cellphone and allow the cheap "decoy" to be stolen.

Keep moving - especially if you are alone and have a puncture while driving and do not feel that the area is safe. Reduce your speed and pull into the left lane. Continue driving very slowly until you reach a safe place such as a petrol station. A damaged tire and wheel is far easier to replace than all your valuables.

General:

When walking in shopping centres and other public places, stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you. Hold handbags securely against your body. Use shop windows as mirrors to see if anyone is following you or watching you. If you need assistance or feel unsafe, go into any shop and ask for the Centre Security to escort you back to your vehicle.

Try as far as possible not to carry a lot of cash. Most shops and restaurants are equipped to pay with debit or credit cards. If you have to carry cash, again separate it into smaller bundles and do not display large amounts or denominations.

Try not going into public toilets alone. If this is unavoidable, leave your valuables with a partner or friend.

Express a bold body language. Nothing says "victim" like a nervous person clutching their belongings.

If you have to use a bank or cash exchange bureau, secure the money in a bag or wallet before leaving the store. Try and do it out of sight of anyone outside. When walking out, look at people around you. Did anyone catch your eye or did you see anyone loitering around? Stay alert. If you do not feel safe, again ask for a Security Official to escort you to your vehicle.

Do not accept help from anyone at an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). There are guards stationed near them in all major shopping centres. Alert them if you feel unsafe or if someone is bothering you.

Try not to stray off the beaten path. Go to well known shopping centres and venues. You are less likely to get lost or run into any type of trouble.

Keep reliable people informed as to your cellphone number, where you are and what time you are expected back. If there is an emergency, someone will know where to find you.

Once more: these tips are not to make you afraid. By following each one, you are drastically reducing the percentage chance of becoming a victim of crime.

Compiled by
Cst S.D. Clark
SAPS Westville
Communications
Social Crime Prevention

Driving in South Africa

Hiring a vehicle is an ideal way to see the country as South Africa has an exceptional road infrastructure.

Driving tips

  • Before embarking on a long road trip, it is important to plan your route and fuel consumption Bank credit cards will not be a valid form of payment at refueling stations (garages)
  • Only stop at refueling stations and designated picnic sites
  • When lost, it is advisable to go to the nearest business or refueling station for directions
  • Keep vehicle doors locked at all times. It is advisable to keep the windows closed as well
  • Make sure all valuables are kept locked in the trunk of the vehicle
  • Never pick up strangers
  • Road rules prohibit driving while talking on a mobile phone, therefore a hands-free car kit is highly recommended.

Road Rules

  • South Africans drive on the left hand side of the road
  • Stopping on freeways/highways is prohibited unless you have car trouble or have been instructed to do so by a traffic officer
  • Distance and speed limits are measured in kilometres
  • Do not feed animals from the vehicles while on tours across the country
  • Drive cautiously in rural areas as these areas are not fenced off and you may find animals wondering on the roads
  • Seatbelts are to be worn at all times by the driver, passenger and occupants in the back of the vehicle

Speed Limits

  • Motorways/highways: 100–120 kph
  • Open roads: 120 kph
  • Rural roads: 80–100 kph
  • Towns/urban roads: 60 kph
  • Provincial roads: 60–80 kph
  • Road tolls: There are many road tolls across South Africa.
Driving in Namibia

Namibia is a beautiful country and hiring a vehicle is an ideal way to explore it.

Driving tips

  • Before embarking on a long road trip, it is important to plan your route and fuel consumption as refueling stations are scarce along the roads.
  • Fuel: refueling stations (garages) are widely spread across Namibia. Most refueling stations are open 24 hours and only accept cash as payment. Bank credit cards will not be a valid form of payment at refueling stations (garages).
  • Only stop at refueling stations and designated picnic sites
  • Never pick up strangers
  • Avoid night driving due to poor visibility and the increasing movement of game in the evenings
  • Always be on the look out for wild animals as their movement is very unpredictable
  • Road rules prohibit driving while talking on a mobile phone, therefore a hands-free car kit is highly recommended.

Road Rules

  • Namibians drive on the left hand side of the road
  • Distance and speed limits are measured in kilometres
  • A maximum speed of 80 kph is to be adhered to on gravel roads and 120 kph on tarmac roads
  • Stopping on freeways/highways is prohibited unless you have been instructedto do so by a traffic officer

Speed Limits

  • Motorways/highways: 100–120 kph
  • Open roads: 120 kph
  • Rural roads: 80–100 kph
  • Towns/urban roads: 60 kph
  • Provincial roads: 60 – 80 kph
  • Road tolls: There are many road tolls within Namibia.