For many South Africans, the December summer break means road-tripping along one of our national highways. It’s one of the busiest times on our roads and by default, one of the most frustrating times for motorists. As thousands of people embark on their well-deserved Christmas holidays, congestion escalates and impatience mounts, leading to irritation, road rage, reckless driving, and ultimately road accidents.

Plan your trip properly, prepare your vehicle for you and your family’s safety and, most importantly, have the right attitude when you are driving.

The AA offers the following quick checklist for motorists:

Have a good attitude.

Besides obeying the rules of the road, one of the most important holiday travel tips is to maintain a good attitude. Exercise patience, tolerance and even graciousness.

Plan ahead.

Make sure of arrangements for overnight accommodation before you leave. For any local AA Quality Assured accommodation visit

AA Travel Insurance


Be sure you are covered at your next location.


International Driving Permit


Don’t get left behind. Get your IDP and join the crowd.


Avoid the rush.

Look at the planning of your trip and avoid the rush days when there is bound to be heavier traffic on the roads. If possible, leave a day sooner, or a day later. Do the same for the return leg of your journey.

Make sure your car is in good shape.

If your vehicle needs a service, book it in as soon as possible. Don’t risk your holiday plans by having a towed vehicle break down due to bad planning or non-servicing.

Don’t get stuck next to the road.

Go further with the AA. Our roadside assistance benefits include: Roadside and emergency medical assist, towing services, battery assist, 10L out-of-fuel when you get stuck next to the road, and AA assistance with accommodation or car hire for breakdowns over 100km from home.

Are you covered?

If you have a vehicle which is out of warranty, or which has outlived its service plan, pick up a product that will cover your high-risk maintenance and service needs.

Check your tyres.

Inspect tyres (including the spare tyre) and make sure they have sufficient tread for the road ahead. Tyres are a key safety feature on vehicles; they are the only thing between the vehicle and the road, and because of this, ensuring their continued good condition is vital. Any tyres that are bald, or under or over inflated, can be dangerous.

Rest, refuel, and refresh.

Plan your route, including stops, and ensure you make provision to stop every 200kms or every two hours to rest, refuel and refresh.

Obey the rules.

Obey all the rules of the road, and drive to the conditions. If the road is marked 120km but visibility is poor, decrease your speed to ensure clear vision of the road ahead.

Buckle up

This includes all passengers, including toddlers under three who, legally, must be in a child restraint, and children 1.3m or shorter who also need to be in booster seats.

Be considerate.

Remember everyone has a right to be on the road.

Check your gear.

Make sure you have all the necessary tools to change a tyre if needed, including a red warning triangle. This includes tools for a tyre change on any vehicle you are towing.

Download the AA app

Install the app on your mobile phone for easy use in case of an emergency. It’s available for Apple or Android.

Keep your eyes on the road.

Focus on the road and on other drivers. Distracted driving diminishes reaction time. Check your eyesight before you travel. Good vision is essential for safe driving.

Be prepared.

Always have water, a first aid kit, and a mobile phone charger in your car for emergencies.

Take your time.

Plan a route off the beaten path and experience a bit more of South Africa than the regular routes. Take time and arrive at your destination calm and rested. A good place to start is on the AA’s website at, which will give you road conditions across South Africa.

Get protection for when you’re not at home.

AA Armed Response provides you with protection, even when you’re travelling. Get the peace-of-mind knowing the AA is looking after you and your loved ones for R35 per person/dependant. AA Members pay R25 per person.