Road Trip memories
"Hard lockdown over the 2020 Easter period saw a reduction in road usage stats of up to 70 percent, according to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. This year, road trips are back on the cards for Easter, with South Africa in Covid-19 Alert Level 1. Freedom of movement across provinces, increase of vehicular capacity allowances and the urge to visit families and friends, see the sites, and explore the country is being felt by South Africans across the country. "
Making road trip memories this Easter
Hard lockdown over the 2020 Easter period saw a reduction in road usage stats of up to 70 percent, according to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. This year, road trips are back on the cards for Easter, with South Africa in Covid-19 Alert Level 1. Freedom of movement across provinces, increase of vehicular capacity allowances and the urge to visit families and friends, see the sites, and explore the country is being felt by South Africans across the country.
The Easter weekend is traditionally recognised as a busy road traffic period on South African roads, with accidents and injuries and loss of life a consequence of unsafe driving, irresponsible pedestrian behaviour, and unroadworthy vehicles on the road. Easter 2020 saw a change to these statistics as the COVID-19 lockdown meant that travel was restricted and pilgrimages, inter-provincial travel and family visits were off the table.
“If the travel bug has bit, but you are still not keen to stay in close quarters in an aeroplane, then a road trip with your loved ones should definitely be on your list this Easter,” says Lubin Ozoux, CEO Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, manufacturer of Dunlop, Sumitomo and Falken tyres. “We have a very beautiful country to explore and whether you take a day trip or are able to get away for a few days this Easter, it is worthwhile doing some planning before you take the road.”
Ozoux encourages drivers to check out the following tips before hitting the tar or venturing off-road into the bush:
Make a checklist: The best way to have a safe, fun-filled road trip is to be prepared. Make a checklist and tick off items that you need to take care of in advance of your trip. This need not be boring – it can include sites to see, snacks to pack, fun games and activities to play in the car, podcasts to listen to as well as the more mundane, but essential items such as having your vehicle serviced, tyres checked, booking accommodation, and working out your budget for the trip. Need help creating a checklist?
It’s all about the …. people: trips make for lasting memories and it is important to include activities that appeal to each member of the family. Do some research before your trip to help build excitement, let each family member select an activity they would like to do, and make sure that you limit on the road time as much as possible. Cranky, bored, and irritable passengers make it hard for the driver to concentrate on the road, so it is important to take regular leg-stretching breaks or plan fun stops en route to break up long trips.
Set up an “I saw it first” challenge: Offer a reward for the best pics or site-spotter on the trip. First to see a red car, first to see a cow, or first buck/zebra/giraffe or one of the sites you are visiting on your trip. A different take on “I-Spy”, this is sure to keep little ones looking out of the windows and can even draw the attention of pre-teens and teens from their devices too. Share those pics on social media and use #RoadClip. Offer another prize for those with the most likes on their post. Even little ones who don’t have access to social media love this game and will be asking you to check how many likes they got on “their” posts.
Work on those listening skills: Part of your pre-planning should include ideas to keep little travellers entertained on the trip. Download and play the “Are we there yet?” podcasts, available on your favourite podcast platform, on your car sound system. Ask your little one to shout out when they hear specific words for an easy win and to help develop their listening skills – and let’s be real that is something most little ones need help with! Easter will see new episodes uploaded, as part of the partnership between the NGO Book Dash and Dunlop, aimed at making books and reading more accessible to children.
“Winging it on a road trip with children, especially during a pandemic, is not advisable, so set your family up a trip that will be remembered for fun experiences, special family bonding time and lots of laughter, rather than roadside breakdowns and stressful backseat tantrums,” Ozoux says. “We have been in lockdown for a year now and it is time to make precious memories with our loved ones, while making every effort to stay safe. Remember to pack and wear masks, fill up hand sanitisers for in the car and choose to stay away from crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. Let’s do our best to protect each other as we enjoy the long weekend break.”
Check out the Dunlop Take the Road blog for more tips and checklists to make your Easter road trip a memorable one the family won’t forget.