The festive season is upon us once again, and the coming Chinese New Year period means that many are set to take to the roads for the journey home or to visit friends and relatives across the country.
Holidays are of course a source of joy, with plenty of revelry and merriment, but there’s the getting there bit to contend with. As always, there’s bound to be the usual congestion and frayed nerves – patience and sensibility goes a long way in getting through it all.
As we get ready to usher in the Year of the Horse, here’s our vehicle checklist and guide for a smooth and fuss-free journey – the guide will be familiar to regular readers, no doubt, and hopefully invaluable to our newer ones!
Like in editions past, do feel free to chip in with any additional tips, suggestions and advice you may have – valuable info is always welcome!
BEFORE THE JOURNEY
1) Check your vehicle’s:
- General running condition
- Fluids – brake, battery, coolant, power steering, motor oil, gearbox and windscreen washer
- Lights – including signal lamps and the third brake light
- Gauges and instruments
- Wipers – blades not split or worn
- Tyre tread, correct tyre pressure
- Fuel level (good idea to fill up before you set off)
2) Check that you have in your vehicle:
- Spare wheel (inflated to correct pressure), jack, tyre repair kit and any other related equipment
- Warning triangle
- Jumper cable
- First-aid kit
3) Pack any cabin supplies you might need – umbrella, tissues or napkins, pillows and blankets, food, water, GPS, mobile handsfree kit and charger ,and so on. Items in the boot should be safely secured so that they don’t move around as you drive.
4) Plan your journey – departure and estimated arrival times, alternative routes to avoid delays.
5) Ensure you have funds in your SmartTAG or Touch ‘n Go, and that your SmartTAG has a healthy battery.
6) Rest well beforehand.
DURING THE JOURNEY
1) Drive patiently and responsibly – remember, you have your family with you. Maintain a safe distance from the car in front – remember, your car will be loaded, so you’ll need a greater stopping distance – and indicate before changing lane.
Keep left if not overtaking and stay within the national speed limit. Turn your headlamps on in rain or fog to improve yours as well as others’ visibility.
Only in cases of emergency should you stop your vehicle on the emergency lane. Be courteous to pedestrians as well as other motorists, and always obey the rules of the road.
2) Take breaks every two hours or so to recharge. It’s a good idea to share the driving if you aren’t the only one in the group who can drive.
3) To stay alert and awake on the move, chew on snacks, listen to music or chat with your fellow passengers.
IN CASE OF A BREAKDOWN/EMERGENCY
1) Get your vehicle off the road if possible and activate hazard lights. It’s best to exit the highway and find a safer place to stop if you can, rather than stopping on the emergency lane.
2) Stop as far to the left as possible and turn wheels to the left. Exit the vehicle (your passengers too) and call for help. Attempting repairs on your own can be dangerous, especially on the highway, so it’s best to wait for help.
3) Keep well clear of oncoming traffic and do not stand anywhere close to your vehicle. Make sure your passengers do the same.
Lastly, all of us at paultan.org would like to take this opportunity to wish our Chinese readers Gong Xi Fa Cai and for everyone else, happy holidays! Wherever you’re heading, we wish you a safe and comfortable drive to your destination and a 2014 filled with health and wealth ahead!