Vehicle safety and security during lockdown

There’s no arguing that 2020 has been a strange and trying year. In South Africa, we were introduced to Covid-19 as early as March – with the result being immediate lockdown. But while regulations have eased and we’re dropping back into a more commodious routine, there still lies the possibility of new lockdown restrictions further down the road.

This means that it’s not yet time to let your guard down; you should still be practising caution, especially where your car (and your overall safety) is concerned.

In This Guide:

Advice for Vehicle Safety and Security During Lockdown

During a nationwide lockdown, citizens are permitted to use their vehicles to access essential services only. This can include visits to the grocery store, to the pharmacy, or to clinics and hospitals. But while roads are generally quieter during these dire times, it does not mean that they are any less safe. Reckless driving, harsh weather, and criminal antics still prevail.  

And this is why we encourage civilians to use this time to make sure that the best vehicle security measures are in place. For example, you can:

  • Contact your insurer to make sure your vehicle insurance cover is up to par with your expectations.
  • Consider security features for your car to prevent it from being stolen (as we mentioned, crime does not come to a halt during lockdown).
  • Make sure that both your car license and driver’s license have not expired.  
  • Keep your car parked in a safe and secure spot, preferably under cover and away from trees and other fixtures that could fall on top of it.
  • Use this time to maintain your vehicle.

Car Maintenance Is Key

While we are by no means suggesting that you need to become a mechanic overnight, there are small things a person can do to keep a car well-maintained and in a safe condition. Use time in lockdown to:

  • Wash your car to prevent rust and permanent soiling.
  • Polish and wax the exterior (this especially applies if it’s parked in an area where it’s exposed to the elements).
  • Apply a lubricant to the rubber door and window seals of your car to prevent them from cracking.
  • Remember to keep your windows closed so that insects and water cannot ruin your upholstery.
  • Keep your fuel tank topped up to avoid the accumulation of water (which can lead to rust).
  • Start your car often and let the engine run (this will keep pipes clean and your battery charged).
  • Keep your tyres pumped.

Consider Installing a Car Alarm or Vehicle Tracking System

Desperate times often call for desperate measures – and this can often lead to a sudden increase in theft. It’s now more paramount than ever to add security features to your vehicle if you have not yet done so.

Add a Car Alarm

Car alarm systems are mostly affordable and require a one-off cost to prevent your vehicle and its contents from being stolen. When your alarm is activated due to someone meddling with your car, a siren will wail – thus alerting you of the activity.

Install a Vehicle Tracking and Recovery Device

The last thing you need during a global pandemic is for your car to be stolen. To increase the chances of it being found if someone does ride off with your wheels, we suggest you install a vehicle tracking device. This device will allow law enforcement to track down your vehicle quicker than usual, which means it’s more likely to be in a good condition once it’s returned to you.

What do you do if you encounter a roadblock?

To control the movement of people during a lockdown, it’s not uncommon for roadblocks to be set up. This means that you need to be prepared to travel safely – and legally - when you do go out for essential goods and services.

Make sure all the necessary permits and documentation are with you in your vehicle in case you are stopped and remember to act civil towards law enforcement – this is a difficult time for them too.

Defensive Driving Still Applies

During a lockdown, traditional road rules still apply. Even if the roads are significantly quieter, don’t be tempted to break the law or drive recklessly. If an accident were to occur due to your own avoidable negligence, then emergency and healthcare workers would be under more pressure than they already are, which is not fair at this crucial point in time.

Also, keep in mind that there may not be as many workers out on the roads keeping them clean and in a maintained condition. This means that there could be a lot of debris and obstacles in the street. Our advice is to pay extra vigilant attention to where you are driving.

While some may find the lockdown a time for relaxation, others find it perplexing. The key is to remain proactive and one step ahead in your thinking at all times – even when it comes to the safety and security of your vehicle.

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