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Road Trip Checklist & Tips for Seniors

  • Tips/Guides-Tips/Guides

It’s winter holiday time and going on a road trip is not only fun for school children but for seniors too. Whether it’s an extended weekend or a longer week away, road trips in South Africa are a great way for seniors to get out and explore the bountiful and beautiful sights the country has to offer. No matter how often you might have gone on a road trip, there’ll always be places you’ve yet to explore.

The age group with the safest drivers

As an experienced driver with a long-standing licence, you no doubt have all the good driving habits down, which makes you one of the safest drivers on the road. Research shows that the safest drivers fall into the 40 to 65 age group. Their driving experience makes them less prone to accidents. Most accidents related to the over 65 age group fall into the small claims category and are largely due to bumper bashings.

What happens as we approach 75

Naturally, mental or physical deterioration occurs as we get older, affecting our abilities in a variety of ways:

  • Senses– Driving depends intrinsically on our senses of sight and sound. While all our senses diminish with age, hearing and vision are affected the most.
  • Fragility– As bodies become more frail and less resilient, recovering from even a small accident can be very difficult. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, as drivers approach the ages of 75 and older, they have a higher rate of accidents and fatalities compared to middle-aged drivers.  
  • Reaction time– As time marches on, our reaction time increases. Research by the Journal of Neurophysiology shows that age-related increases in reaction time are due to slower preparation, not delayed initiation. In other words, it’s not so much the hesitancy to respond but rather the ability to process and then prepare their movements accordingly.

Of course, no one is immune to accidents at whatever age, so we’ve prepared a list of tips to ensure you’re covered as best as possible in any situation.

Tips for a hassle-free road trip

A little bit of pre-planning and vehicle preparation before your trip will go a long way to making your journey as pain-free as possible. Consider these quick and simple tips:

  1. Share your travel plans with a good friend or colleague.
  2. Have a well-stocked first aid kit in the car.
  3. Take some cash with you for instances where digital technology fails.
  4. Ensure you have emergency contact numbers in your cell phone.
  5. Familiarise yourself with your insurance policy.
  6. Bring along your spare set of car keys.
  7. Plan your route ahead of time.
  8. Remember those old-fashioned map books? Take it along as a backup in case technology fails.
  9. Especially for a long road trip off the beaten track, make a note of the fuel stations on your route.
  10. Prepare some stress-relieving music for the drive.
  11. Pack healthy‘padkos’like nuts, fruit, and dark chocolate.
  12. Don’t forget bottles of water to stay hydrated.
  13. Give yourself enough time to get to your destination before check-in time or dark.

En route:

  1. Take your time and choose a route that isn't too strenuous.
  2. Avoid busy roads.
  3. Take regular breaks.
  4. Keep each other alert with lively chat or listening to music.
  5. Drive at safe speeds and be alert to road conditions.
  6. Know what steps to take in case of an accident.
  7. Be prepared in case of a breakdown on your road trip.

1.Prepare your vehicle

  1. Travel as lightly as possible and don’t overload your car.
  2. Ensure your car is roadworthy.
  3. Check your vehicle's overall condition weeks before going on a road trip, particularly:
    1. Tyre tread
    2. Tyre pressure (air pressure in the tyres can decrease when the temperature gets colder)
    3. Battery
    4. Brake pads
    5. Wheel alignment
    6. Wheel balancing

As a 60+ pensioner, you are eligible for wheel alignment, balancing, and rotation at a cost of R250 at your nearest Supa Quick servicecentre, valid every Wednesday.

What’s more, for your convenience Supa Quick offers a free vehicle safety check where their experts will check your tyre tread, tyre pressure, the condition of your car battery, test your brakes, and more. (Plus, if you’re an eBucks member, you can earn 200 eBucks just for coming in and getting all those vehicle safety basics covered.)

Oh, holiday driving, how I love thee! Being aware of how to get the most out of your trip without spending it at the side of the road will go a long way to making it as enjoyable as possible. 

Also read:

Which Age Group Causes the Most Road Accidents

What to Do if Your Car Breaks Down on a Road Trip

7 Car Maintenance Checks for a Holiday Road Trip

Road Travel: Tips to Deal with Car Sickness

6 Tips for Driving Safely on a Spare Tyre

Complete Guide to Tyres for Safety on the Road

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information.

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