Buckle up, follow traffic rules, avoid driving in poor weather conditions and certainly do not exceed the carrying capacity of the vehicle whether this be a utility or a goods carrying vehicle.These are all solid driving tips, but sometimes staying safe on the roads requires a bit more than common sense.
In PNG, careful driving means going the extra kilometre – literally. Here, carjackings can occur and road conditions are variable. There are, however, measures you can take to minimise risk to you, your passengers and your vehicle.
Service your vehicle regularly
The best way to avoid the risks of breaking down is to not break down in the first place. While accidents still happen, you can avoid being stuck on the roadside facing expensive repairs by having your vehicle serviced regularly by a fully qualified mechanical repair workshop.
Regular maintenance does not need to cost an arm and a leg, and can help prevent more significant car troubles later on. Some of the most common – and important – services include:
- Oil changes and full mechanical checks
- Tyre rotations and balancing
- Timing belt checks and replacement
- Windshield wiper replacements
- Checks (and replacements) for all filters
Following the regular servicing of your vehicle, you should also get in the habit of checking your oil and other fluids regularly, as well as the tyre pressure. This is particularly important for ageing vehicles.
Never leave important documents or valuables in your car
Leaving valuables in your car is a guaranteed way to entice criminals to break in. Many drivers are in the bad habit of leaving their phone, wallet or other belongings in accessible places like their dashboard or front or rear seats. Right out in the open, these are glaring temptations for those looking to ‘smash and grab’ something from your vehicle.
What is attractive to a criminal isn’t always so obvious. To avoid theft, we recommend keeping many things on your person and out of your unattended vehicle, including:
- Your mail – especially if your address is on it as many criminals will try to gather information about where you live to plan their next strike
- Vehicle registration information – this can be used by criminals to pass off your vehicle as their own
- Packages and bags of any kind – a thief will have no way of knowing if the contents are valuable until the criminal breaks in
- Money – including loose change, which might indicate there’s more cash around
Choose a 4WD vehicle
Outside the major centres, many of the roads in PNG are unsealed and riddled with potholes and even suffer landslides.
During dry season, these are problematic. During wet season, impassable. If you want to get around, a four wheel drive vehicle is very necessary.
Plan your route ahead of time
Avoiding the places known for carjackings can go a long way in reducing the risk of your motor vehicle being over taken from you under force.
Times when you are stopped can be particularly dangerous, so plan your route ahead of time. This cuts down on the chance that you’ll need to check where you are and which roads to take, which can leave you distracted and vulnerable to carjackers.
Other tips for preventing carjackings include:
- Keep your windows up
- Lock your doors
- Keep moving and avoid stopping whenever you can
- Start your car and drive away quickly when beginning a journey
- Park in populated areas
Ensure you are insured
While purchasing motor vehicle insurance can not eliminate the chance that your vehicle will break down or be broken into, it can help you get back on your feet when something does go wrong.
At Trans Pacific Assurance, our motor vehicle insurance policy is designed to help you recoup losses after your vehicle is involved in a motor vehicle accident and suffers damage. To find out more, reach out to our expert team today.