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Motoring Tips

These safe motoring tips are just another example of how we go beyond the norm not merely for our valued customers, but for all drivers.  Please read them to ensure you have a happy and safe driving experience in Trinidad and Tobago… or wherever you are. 

Glove Box Essentials

Always make certain that you have the following items in the glove box of your vehicle:

  • The current insurance for the vehicle
  • Third-party accident information form

We also suggest that in the event of an emergency,  you keep a charged cell phone with you at all times when on the road.

Buckle Up when Driving

Ensure that you and your passenger use the seatbelts at all times when seated in the front seats. For your passengers’ safety, we strongly suggest that seatbelts be worn by passengers in the rear seats as well.

Seatbelts should also be worn in instances when traffic is at a 'go slow'.  It may not seem likely, but accidents can also happen at these times. For the safety of our customers and drivers, all ExecuService vehicles conform to Trinidad and Tobago’s seatbelt regulations. 

Secure Children when Driving

In Trinidad and Tobago, the law requires that all children travelling in cars use an appropriate child restraint or adult seatbelt. It is internationally recognised that child restraints must be used until a child is 135cm in height (approx 4’ 5”) or up to the age of 12 years, whichever comes first.
Children sitting in the front seat must use the correct child restraint. Do not carry a child in a rear-facing child seat in the front of any vehicle protected by an active frontal airbag.

In the rear seat, the child must wear an appropriate child restraint or adult seat belt.

It is the driver's legal responsibility to ensure that any child travelling in the vehicle is correctly restrained.        

Be Street Smart

Internationally, every 18 seconds, someone is involved in an auto accident and every 11 minutes someone dies. With this in mind, here are some ‘street smart’ rules every driver should adhere to:

  • Be cautious at intersections. Intersections can be risky because there are a lot of distractions:  turning cars, pedestrians and especially ‘red-light runners’.
  • Steer clear of erratic drivers. Let a tailgater pass you.
  • Keep your eyes on the road. Talking on a cell phone, applying make-up and eating while driving can distract you and lead to an accident. Keep in mind that another distracted driver might also be near you.
  • Be alert near parked cars. Someone could open a car door or pull out in front of you.
  • Do not drive if you are sleep-deprived. Sleep is not a matter of willpower, but a biological need. If you become drowsy, pull off the road and get some rest.
  • When passing another car, get past the driver’s blind spot as quickly and safely as possible.
  • Know your brakes. All of our cars at Southern Sales Car Rentals Division have anti-lock brakes, which require a driver to apply a firm and continuous pressure on the pedal.
  • In rainy weather, leave extra space between you and the car ahead.
  • Do not drive through flood waters. A small amount of water can disable a vehicle in seconds.
  • Never assume a pedestrian has seen you. Slow down and be aware of pedestrian movement near schools, shopping centres and other areas.
  • Do not forget the basics. As well as wearing your seatbelt, limit loose objects in your car and lock your doors.
  • Follow these recommendations of the National Safety Council (NSC). A normal distance of three (3) seconds must be maintained at all times, however a one (1) second timeframe must be added for each potential road hazard e.g. weather conditions, road conditions and heavy vehicles.

Plan Your Journey

Before leaving Southern Sales Car Rentals Division or any location, be sure you know the route to your destination.  If you must ask directions, ask a police officer or carefully choose someone in a well-lit/very public place. Stay out of high crime areas even if it means going out of your way.  Here are some more things to keep in mind…

Do not stop on the roadway or shoulder, and do not get out of your car if any of the following situations occur:

  • Your vehicle is bumped from behind
  • Another motorist advises you of problems with your vehicle
  • Your car is malfunctioning or,
  • Someone on the roadside needs assistance.

If any of the preceding situations occur, drive to the nearest well-lit public place to dial 999 for the police to request assistance.

  • Do not stop for flashing white lights. Lights on emergency vehicles are red and blue.
  • In the unlikely event you are threatened with a gun or knife for the vehicle, give it up immediately. Once you’re safe, report the incident to the police and to Southern Sales Car Rentals Division.
  • Keep the vehicle doors and windows locked at all times.
  • Keep your valuables locked in the trunk or glove compartment.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash on you or in the vehicle.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers.
  • Always park in well-lit areas.
  • If stopping to buy gas at night, choose well-lit, busy locations.
  • If possible, avoid using an ATM at night.
  • Never leave the vehicle unattended with the engine running.
  • Have the keys ‘in-hand’ and ready when approaching your parked vehicle. Be aware of your surroundings and check the interior of the vehicle before unlocking the doors and getting in.

Accidents and How to Avoid Them

We all like to think that vehicular accidents happen to the ‘other people’, not us. In reality, of course, we all face a certain amount of risk every time we get into a car. And, the risk is very significant indeed. We urge you to use your best judgment to avoid accidents from occurring.

Keep Within the Speed Limit

Speed increases the distance required to stop.  Double the speed equals four times the stopping distance. Research shows that even small decreases in speed will significantly reduce crash risk and injury: 

  • A driver crashing at an impact speed of 80km/h is twice as likely to be killed as a driver crashing at 60km/h.
  • The probability of a pedestrian being killed in a collision involving a vehicle increases beyond impact speeds of 40km/h.

Speeding increases the risk and severity of crashing because you have less time to notice and react to potential hazards, are more likely to lose control of your vehicle and need a longer braking distance to stop. Watch the speed of the drivers around you as well so that you can react to avert a crash if needed.

Do Not Drive Under The Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

If you have been drinking alcohol, ‘feeling sober’ is not a safe indicator of whether you are able to drive. You need to give your system enough time to get rid of all the alcohol. Get into the habit of drinking light alcoholic drinks and limit these sharply. Better yet, try alternative non-alcoholic drinks. Also, remember some medications, when combined with even the smallest amounts of alcohol, can greatly impair your driving skills.

At Southern ales Car Rentals, we strictly prohibit the use of drugs or narcotics by vehicle operators/drivers as such a practice may impair judgment when operating a vehicle.

Avoid Driving When Tired

Driver fatigue is known to be a factor in up to one third of serious crashes. It’s commonly thought of as ‘falling asleep at the wheel’. However it can seriously impair your driving well before you 'nod off'. The problem stems from drivers not realising that they're too tired to drive safely.Signs of fatigue include weaving, drifting and sudden change of direction.

How to Avoid Fatigue
  • Make sure you have had plenty of sleep if you know you have to drive. Sleep should be at least six to eight hours preferably at night.
  • Take regular breaks; stop get out of the car and take a short walk, or get some refreshments.
  • Plan to stay overnight if the drive is long and it is late.
  • Share the driving with a traveling companion.
  • Do not speed.
  • Take extra care driving between midnight and 6.00am since your body is most at risk from fatigue during these hours.

Maintain Your Composure In An Accident

If you have ever been involved in a vehicular accident, you may remember feeling angry, panic-stricken and uncertain of what to do. Stay calm and follow these simple steps to help prevent additional injuries, reduce costs and expedite vehicle repairs.

  • If it is safe to stay remain at the scene of the accident, mark out the spots of your wheels. If not, pull over. Ensure that your path is clear to pull to a safe and secure place.  Make sure that you and your vehicle are off the road and out of harm’s way.
  • Check for injuries. Make sure no one is injured. If so, call 999 in Trinidad and Tobago (or the emergency service number in your country).
  • Call the police. No matter how minor the accident, make sure you call the police to report the accident. This will help to expedite your insurance claim later on.
  • If you are in a rented or leased ExecuService vehicle, call Southern Sales Car Rentals’ 24-hour Emergency Roadside Assistance.
  • Don’t discuss who is at fault with the others involved, it may lead to an altercation. Leave it to the investigators.
  • Exchange insurance information. Check the date on the other driver's insurance ID to make sure it is still valid. As a back-up, record the other driver’s phone number, address, license plate number and the make and model of each car involved. 
  • Also note down the details of the accident including the date, time, location and weather conditions. This information can be completed on the third party accident information form located in your glove box.
  • If you notice any witnesses, take down their names and telephone numbers.
  • Visit the nearest Police Station on the same day of the accident to make a report when the sequence of events is fresh in your mind. 
  • After the police have completed the accident report, ask for a copy. Write down the officer’s name, department, badge number and incident number if there is one.
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