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The importance of the walk around before you drive off

Defensive driving courses always impress on the importance of the pre-drive walk around inspection.

The K53 drivers test also refers to this and in fact, it makes it a standard operating procedure before you drive off.

Although most of us do not have the time to always perform the full K53 pre-inspection, here are some suggestions why we support a regular, walk around.

Whether you perform the walk around clockwise or anti-clockwise will depend on where and in what position the vehicle is parked.
• If your vehicle is parked in your yard or, if you live in a complex, undercover or in an open parking area, it is critical that you perform this so as to ensure that there are no children or pets near or behind the car. Even if all is clear it is still most important to be vigilant with kids around, once you drive out of the parking position. Kids are impulsive and may well still, despite the danger, decide to move in front of the car where you can’t see them.
• If you notice a puncture or slow puncture during the walk around, you can replace it with your spare wheel, before you drive off. If not and you arrive at your destination – only then realising you have a puncture, the distance you have driven with a flat or partly flat tyre, may well have cause extra damage to both wheel and rim.
• Regular inspections will also, should the vehicle sustain damaged – like in parking garages and such – help you to determine where and when the latter happened.
• Once inside the vehicle, ensure that you have a clear all-round view and that there are no obstacles to clutter your view. If you only recognise an obstruction once the vehicle is already moving, the temptation to remove or adjust the obstruction while driving, will be strong and submitting to it will be dangerous. Stop in a safe spot and only then attend to the obstruction.
• One defect that is easy to miss is defective tail and or stop lights. And in difficult driving conditions, defective lights will add unnecessary risks to your drive.
• Careful observation has taught that many drivers lack the skill or will, or both to park a double-cab or large SUV properly. Once you have parked your vehicle in a public parking bay, please do the walk around to ensure that your vehicle is parked properly within the white lines.
• Once inside your vehicle ensure that all mirrors, seating and steering position has been adjusted to your preference before your drive off.
• Fasten your seat belt before you drive off. Again trying to do this while moving out of your drive way while simultaneously watching out for oncoming traffic is dangerous.

Travelling on public roads, in any kind of vehicle, presents risks. Minimise them at much as you can by performing the walk around of the vehicle you are about to use. If anything bothers you, resolve it. Report it to the driver/owner. If their response is negative, rather find an alternative transport solution.

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