Preventing accidents during going back home or balik kampung to the towns and villages where one lives, does not depend solely on safety campaigns organized by the authorities alone. During lectures conducted for would be drivers prior to their sitting for the Highway Code exam, I still remember an important topic entitled “Planning One’s Journey” to avoid accidents and mishaps happening.

This article intends to highlight a few things motorists should do prior to their long journey back home. Irregardless of whether you live in Pulau Pinang, Kota Bharu or Johor Baharu, it is imperative that preparations should ideally be made to make your journey back home safe.

Amongst some of the things I feel should be paid due attention are:

1) Condition of your vehicle.

Unless you possess a vehicle that is new or in good mechanical condition, one that would be able to withstand the stress of going through a few hundred kilometers of vigorous, pounding conditions and in all kinds of weather, think twice before embarking on a difficult journey back home to your kampung.

Assuming that you are working in Kuala Lumpur and you would like to make a 250 km journey home to your kampung in Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah this forth coming Hari Raya Aidil Fitri celebration, ask yourself one simple question – Is your present vehicle you are using capable of undergoing the tremendous strain it is about to undertake?

Therefore, prior to taking off on such a journey, what should you ideally do? Service your vehicle is my most ardent advise to your.

Ensure first and foremost your vehicle air-con unit is well serviced and provides cool and refreshing air to you and your vehicle will make one a better and safe driver. If will also provide you with a comfortable drive back home.

2) The condition of your brakes.

You have to check your brake oil level and the condition of your brake pads prior to starting off on a long journey back home. Accidents can easily take place if there two items are not in satisfactory conditions. So, take your car to your usual mechanic or workshop to have them look over your brakes. This is one duty you will not regret doing, believe me.

3) The condition of your vehicle tyres.

Experts say, a tyre is considered in good condition if it possesses 60% tyre tread. Anything less that this figure is termed as dangerous. Besides checking on tyre treads, also make it a point to check upon things such as balancing and alignment as well.

If you as a motorist is uncertain about such matters, seek out the assistance of your neighborhood tyre shop to help you.

4) Make sure you have enough money to pay for expenses.

Many motorists, irregardless of whether you believe or not, find that they sometimes have insufficient money to pay for tolls and expenses for drinks and refreshments incurred along the way back home. At times, your vehicle might possibly develop breakdowns.

I once sustained a brake failure breakdown near Batang Kali town a few years ago. With insufficient money in hand, I had to appeal to the mechanic attending me to permit me to go back to Rawang town to get the money required from the ATM machine.

So it is hoped that what has happened to me will not befall you as you travel back home to your beloved home town this coming Hari Raya occasion. Make sure you have enough money with you to deal with any unforeseen problems which might befall you.

5) Do not speed.

As you travel back home to your kampung, keep one important thing in mind. Remember, “Speed Kills”. The maximum speed along our national highway is 90 km/h for state roads while for expressways, the maximum speed is 110 km/h. Although the authorities say no road blocks will be set up this time around, nonetheless, speed traps and photographs will be taken against those who speed. I would like to advise all motorists to keep to a cruising speed, which is as a matter of fact, safer.

6) Check on your spare tyre.

Spare tyres are always important items as one travels back home to your hometown. Make sure that your spare tyres are inflated with air. Spare tyres which have no air in it is of no use should you sustain a tyre puncture along the way back home. So take note of this important advice.

7) Prepare fire extinguishers and medical first aid boxes.

A fire extinguisher, especially a portable one is of utmost importance to a motorist. It should be kept under the front seat of the driver. In such a position, it would be easily assessable to the driver in time of emergencies. Medical first aid boxes should also be made available in any vehicle which is making a journey back home to the place from where one originates.

The above 7 tips represent some of the important things which a motorist has to keep in mind as he drives back home for the forthcoming festive occasion this approaching Hari Raya.

Drive carefully and I hope you will arrive safe and sound to be with your family and loved ones. Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri to one and all.