On the Arrive Alive website we have provided a rather comprehensive section of content on road safety and car rental. Most of the well known car rental agencies are very safety conscious and will only provide well maintained and safe vehicles for their clients. Even though both the tourist and businessman should feel comfortable in doing business with our South African car rental agencies, we recommend that they follow a few basic guidelines when selecting the car rental agency, selecting the vehicle and when driving such a vehicle.
This basic duty of care should also extend to understanding the terms and conditions of the car rental agreement/ contract. Read the terms and conditions and ask questions to ensure that you are aware of both your rights and obligations.
We would like to share an example of the recommendations pertaining to inspecting the vehicle:
Inspecting the Vehicle
Take a few extra minutes to inspect your rental vehicle – this will provide peace of mind and contribute to your safety on the road. Specific attention should be given to the following:
- The condition of your vehicle – You will be held responsible for undocumented damage i.e. scratches etc
- Look at the tyres for inflation, good tread, and even tread wear. Uneven tread wear hints at a suspension, alignment, or tyre maintenance problems – Do not accept the vehicle if not satisfied
- Check the lights: headlights, turn signals and interior/dashboard lights. Even if you’ll only be driving during daylight hours—you might suddenly find yourself driving through a tunnel or facing a weather front in which you would want to turn on your lights. Do they work on bright as well as dim?
- Test the brakes—with the engine running—to get the “feel” of them. Some brakes are “softer” than others and you don’t want any surprises
- Make sure the hand brake is in working condition
- Spray the windshield to ensure that the washer system works and the wipers are in good shape
- Ensure that there’s an Owners Manual in the glove box
- Check the boot for a spare tyre (push on it to ensure that it’s actually inflated), jack and other tools required for a tyre change
- Take a few moments to familiarise yourself with the control panels and instruments
- Adjust the seat, seat belts, rearview and sideview mirrors so that they’re in the right positions for you
- Find the hazard lights and check if they are working
- Make sure that the vehicle has sufficient petrol/ diesel
It might be a good idea to drive across the parking lot once or twice to become more familiar with the vehicle. If you are not comfortable with the vehicle –go back to the rental agency immediately. Do not leave the parking lot with a vehicle you are not comfortable with!
A visitor to the Arrive Alive website shared an image and description that reminded us of the need for a “very thorough inspection”:
ALL S.A. CUSTOMS OFFICIALS –
Beit Bridge Border Post –
Be on the lookout for a family of 23 Zimbabweans. They may try to cross the border illegally. Driving a ’52 Chevy……Red with White top.