driving-night

Why is driving at night so dangerous?

Our pupils dilate in the dark, and our eyesight tends to detect lights and movement rather than the colour and sharp details that we recognise during the day. Consequently, our depth perception isn’t as accurate at night, and our eyes are more prone to become dry or tired, as we tend to concentrate more and blink less. With these physiological factors in mind, there are a few tips you can utalise to make nighttime trips less daunting and dangerous. With a few simple precautionary measures, you can drive safely, keep your visibility high, and even enjoy the unique experience of an immersive night drive!

Top tips for safer night driving:

  • Always keep your car windows clean thereby avoiding increased glare and condensation.
  • Don’t blind others – dip your lights when faced with another road user.
  • Help drivers see you by turning your lights on before sunset and keeping them on for an hour after sunrise.
  • Have your eyes checked regularly for problems, which can affect your night vision.
  • Be aware that other road users may behave erratically so be prepared to give them more space than usual.
  • Watch out for pedestrians.
  • Allow more time for your own journey, so you’re not driving under pressure. Remember, speed kills.

Always stay alert! It should go without saying, but distracted driving should always be avoided. Stop to stretch your legs and get food if you’re on a long trip, and if you’re tired, make sure you get some rest before heading back out on the road.

Whether it’s just after dusk, or right before dawn, these tips can help you take back the night.

medical-emergency

What you need to know in a medical emergency

In case of a medical emergency, it is imperative to remember important health information about yourself and your loved ones.

This can be tough; therefore medics suggest you keep a record of your important health facts. This can help a medical team make a better, quicker diagnosis during an emergency.

Here is some information your medical records should contain:

Allergies

This is especially important if you are allergic to any medications. Also be sure to make note of anything you have had a reaction to in the past. This information could help emergency personnel find a cause for problems such as breathing difficulties and hives.

Medications

Any medicines, including dosages, should be jotted down. Some medicines react badly when taken together, so the paramedics and doctors need this information before they administer any medication.

Pre-Existing Illnesses

Emergency personnel need to be informed of any previous health problems or illnesses. These pre-existing conditions can have a huge effect on which tests and treatments are used in an emergency.

Weight

Having a recent weight handy can help doctors calculate dosages of any medicine that may be needed.

Family History

A family medical history is handy information. Doctors will enquire if anyone else in the family has any medical problems. This information can help doctors when diagnosing and dealing with a current illness.

It doesn’t take long to compile a written or computer-based medical history for you and your loved ones. And doing so could mean saving critical minutes — when they count most!

wet-roads

Driving Tips for Wet Roads

Throughout the last few days most of us have been caught in the summer rain showers, these are only the beginning! Driving in the rain can be extremely dangerous therefore we need to be prepared before and during the storm. Thousands of car accidents each year are caused by wet driving conditions.

Safety starts before you drive. Your main goal should be to see and be seen. Ensure your windshield wipers are kept up to date and replaced regularly. If your windshields leave streaks or don’t clear the glass in a single swipe then it is time to replace them. Ensure all headlights, taillights, brake lights and indicators are properly functioning therefore making you clearly visible to other drivers during the downpours.

Here are some tips you’ll want to follow the next time you’re caught driving in the rain:

  • Turn on your windshield wipers.
  • Slow down. Your first reaction should always be to adjust your speed accordingly. Wet roads reduce your traction, and slowing down reduces the chances of you skidding out, and will give you more time to react to emergencies.
  • Stay focused.Concentrate on the road and be aware of other cars and
  • Avoid the outskirts of the road and gravitate towards the middle lanes as water tends to gather in the outside lanes.
  • Maintain proper following distance. Always leave a three- to four-second gap between your car and the car in front of you. When raining and your visibility decreases, increase this to at least five seconds when it’s raining.
  • Avoid slamming on your brakes. Slamming on the brakes can cause your car to slide forward. Hitting the brakes too hard can also force water into your brakes, making them less effective. If possible, rather remove your foot from the accelerator to slow down.
  • Turn on your headlights immediately, regardless of whether it’s day or night.
  • Avoid off-road driving. It’s hard to judge the actual depth of puddles and you can easily become stuck.
  • Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the ground through it; your car could be swept off the road.
  • When approaching a puddle of uncertain depth, go slow. If the puddle is deeper than the bottom of your car door, avoid going through it. Deep water can cause serious damage to a modern car’s electrical system.

 

Overall you want to be extra cautious in wet weather. Drive safely and slowly.

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How to Handle a Road Side Emergency

Coming across an accident while out on the road can be a frightening and stressful. Not only is it a dangerous environment to exit your car and assist but the sight of injured, bleeding people or children can be terrifying. Every accident scene has its own unique challenges and emergency personnel are usually quick on the scene to ensure the safety of all parties involved. This article helps address what you can do to help if you are the first to arrive on the scene.

Pull your vehicle over

  • Find a safe place to stop and park your vehicle.
  • Turn your car hazards and lights on. This will bring attention to other motorists that there has been an accident and slowdown is necessary.
  • Put out your warning triangles if you have them.

 

Phone an Emergency Number

Be prepared to answer the following questions from the call taker:

  • Your telephone number. This will allow the call taker to call you back should you be cut off.
  • Your location.
  • The details of what has happened.
  • How many people are injured and whether there are any other hazards such as a fire, etc.

From this information, the dispatcher can send the correct personal from the closest area therefore ensuring a quick on the scene response.  The call taker may also give you telephonic advice as to what to do to help the injured on the accident scene.
 

Assisting the Injured

  • If you keep a first aid kit in your vehicle, remove the kit and immediately put on the rubber gloves.
  • If the victims are conscious, speak calmly and reassure them that the emergency services are on their way. Depending on the severity of the accident, this may the only and most important thing you can do to help the individuals involved.
  • Do NOT move the patient or try to remove them from the vehicle UNLESS there is an immediate threat to their life, such as the car been on fire. There may be underlying injuries and any movement could worsen the injury.
  • If the person is unconscious, open their mouth and make sure there is nothing inside causing obstruction to the breathing.
  • Check if the person is breathing. If the patient is breathing, monitor the breathing. If the patient is NOT breathing and you have been trained to do so, you may begin CPR.
  • If a person is experiencing heavy bleeding, place any available material over the open wound and apply direct pressure. Maintain this pressure until the emergency services arrive.

Being the first to arrive at the accident scene can be a terrifying ordeal. Try your very best to remain calm and help as much as the situation allows.

hijacking

How to Prevent Becoming the Next Hijacking Victim

Hijacking is a fear that all of us South Africans have to live with. The South African Police Service recently revealed that a car gets hijacked in the country every 41 minutes. Rather alarmingly, vehicle theft has decreased by 2.7%, but carjacking and truck hijacking have both increased dramatically at 14.2% and 29.1% in the last year, according to crime statistics released in September 2015.

 

Crime statistics released by the Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko and police commissioner Riah Phiyega revealed that the province most affected by hijacking and vehicle theft is Johannesburg. According to Frans Cronje, from the SA Institute for Race Relations (SAIRR), the reason for the increase in hijacking is because criminals have adapted to the improved security in cars and tracking devices and therefore now rather resort to car hijacking.

 

Research undertaken by Arrive Alive reveals that most hijackings occur between 5pm and 8pm, when people are heading home from work. However one should always remain vigilant at any time of day.

 

To help you avoid becoming the next statistic, take note of some handy tips:

 

  • Have your key ready but not visible.
  • Once in your vehicle, ensure that your vehicle is locked at all times.
  • Plan your route ahead of time and notify someone of your chosen route and when you can be expected to arrive.
  • Be aware of someone following you; always check the rear view mirror.If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy public area.
  • Avoid driving with your windows open, especially when you vehicle has come to a halt.
  • Ensure all valuables are out of sight.
  • Avoid distractions while driving such as using a cell phone.
  • When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green.
  • Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear of shrubbery.
  • When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.
  • Change your routes and your schedule if possible on a regular basis.
  • Make arriving at your destination safer by calling ahead and asking someone to open and close your gate for you.

 

There are also seven golden rules to follow if you are confronted by a hijacker:

  • Remain calm.
  • Do not argue.
  • Do not make sudden gestures.
  • Avoid eye contact but try to remember what the carjacker looked like by identifying and remembering special features.
  • Comply with the hijackers directions, within reason.
  • Try and get away from the area as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t be a hero – your life is worth more than your car.

 

 

Stay alert and stay safe!

restaurant-alcohol-bar-drinks-large-2

What the legal Drinking limit Actually Means For Us

Enjoying a beer or a glass of wine is a culture most of us adults enjoy. However, a challenge exists. How much can we drink whilst remaining under the limit?

Let’s address the first question, what will happen if you are caught over the limit?

According to members of the South African Police Service, if you have consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol while driving, you will be arrested and charged with driving under the Influence. You will be detained until bail is granted; in some cases bail will not be granted. Depending on the conditions of your arrest as well as past convictions, the individual could face a minimum fine of R2 000 or a two-year prison sentence, or both. Your driver’s licence could be suspended and you face the chances of having a criminal record against your name.

“Drunk driving is one of the biggest threats to Road Safety in South Africa,” says the AA (Automobile Association of South Africa). “More than 21,000 people have been arrested on our roads in the last year as a result of drinking and driving and it has been shown that 50% of people who die on our roads are over the limit.”

So this leads us to our second question, what specifically constitutes being over the limit?

The legal alcohol limit in South Africa is a breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1,000ml, or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml. Therefore this translates to a maximum of 10ml of pure alcohol per hour, based on an adult weighing 68kg.  In layman’s terms this means (based on an average body weight of 68kg):

  • Beer: Two thirds of a beer or spirit cooler with 5% alcohol content.
  • Red wine: 75ml (1 glass: 125ml) per hour with an alcohol content of 12% to 14%
  • White wine: 90ml per hour
  • Whisky and brandy: 25ml tot of alcohol per hour.

Lastly, what are the myths of sobering up:

  • Drinking Black Coffee:Caffeine will not help your liver metabolize alcohol. Drinking coffee while intoxicated could give you a false feeling of alertness and capability, which in turn could get you in to more trouble.
  • Fresh Air:Just the same as taking a shower, fresh air can make you feel less impaired but it has zero effect on your blood alcohol content.
  • Induce vomiting: Self-induced vomiting could eliminate some of the alcohol that has not yet been absorbed by your body, but most of it will already be in your bloodstream.
  • Sweat it out: No amount of exercise can reduce the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. Exercising while intoxicated could cause you harm as your balance will be impaired.

The only thing that will work is TIME, nothing else can reverse it. Do yourself and others a favour and wait it out. Please consider the consequences before you get behind the wheel intoxicated.

June-Blog-Image

How to Combat Seasonal Hay Fever

The mornings are darker, our days are suddenly shorter and we find ourselves leaving the house with a coat…. And a handful of tissues! Welcome to the change of yet another season, which brings along with it, hay fever.

According to the South African Allergy Society, as many as 20–30% of South Africans suffer from hay fever.

What exactly is seasonal hay fever? “Allergies result when the immune system identifies a foreign substance, such as dust or pollen, incorrectly, then classifies it as harmful and treats it as such.” explains Allison Veinings, Executive Director of the Self-Medication Manufacturers Association of South Africa (SMASA).

One can expect similar symptoms to that you would experience in summer. These include your everyday itchy nose and eyes, sneezing and watery eyes. It is common for people to confuse hay fever with a cold. What is the golden age rule when it comes to diagnosing these different conditions? A cold will only linger for 10 days, whereas allergies will linger for weeks and even months.

What is the culprit of these symptoms? Pollen, trees, grass and weeds, and in the winter to come, hay fever is also increased by the use of heaters and fireplaces. Mould and insect parts trapped in these objects are released into the air and inhaled leading to a reaction. Animals and dust mites can also be a trigger.

Here are some tips to help control seasonal allergy symptoms:

  • Attack of the mould and dust mites: There are many ways to limit allergens inside the house. Throw out old shower curtains, wallpaper, or carpeting that may contain mould. Scrub showers and sinks with a solution containing bleach and detergent. Remove some or all carpets and unnecessary furnishings like throw pillows. Keep windows closed when pollen/mould counts are high.
  • Squeaky clean bedding: Wash bedding in hot water each week. Use allergy-proof covers on mattresses, pillows, and comforters.
  • Hello artificial plants: Live trees can be a safe haven for chemicals and mould which can trigger hay fever. Consider investing in some fake plants to spice up your home rather than the real deal.
  • Be aware of the outdoors: If you have hay fever triggered by outdoor allergens, it’s important to shower and wash your hair, especially before going to bed. Showering helps remove pollen from your skin and hair and can help prevent a night-time allergy attack.
  • Where there is smoke there is fire: Smoking, second hand smoke and smoky environments can worsen symptoms of hay fever for many people. If you have allergies, it may be helpful to avoid exposure to any smoky environments, including your warm heaters and fireplaces.
  • Check your car heater: Your warm heated car can expose you to airborne spores that can trigger allergy symptoms. To minimize this problem, bare the cold and open the windows for 10 minutes after turning on your heater and avoid directing the vents toward your face.
Prevent Drownings

Prevent Drownings during Long-Weekend Season

Long weekend season is in full swing. Planning on visiting the beach or spending the day around the pool? Follow our safety measures for preventing drownings:

 

  1. Presence of lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to spot swimmers on the verge of drowning and act quickly to save lives. Certified lifeguards have been trained and have the expertise to perform CPR. They can be the difference between life and death when spotting swimmers on the verge of drowning.

 

  1. Usage of certified flotation devices. Life jackets and other flotation devices ensure you stay afloat in the water even if you are unconscious or unable to swim, making them a valuable aid in and around the water.

 

  1. Recognize and avoid strong currents. If you’re at the beach, be ready to spot these common rip current warning signs:
    1. A narrow channel of particularly choppy water
    2. Water with a noticeably different color than the water around it
    3. Irregular wave patterns
    4. A line of debris or seaweed moving steadily out to sea
  1. Don’t panic if you find yourself in a strong current. In the unlikely event that you are caught in a strong current, rather than trying to fight the current, instead, turn 90 degrees and swim parallel to the shore as hard as you can. Since most rip currents are active only in relatively narrow channels, eventually, you’ll get out of the rip current and into calmer waters.

 

  1. If you feel yourself start to lose control, tread water or float. Most people’s natural reaction to the sensation of beginning to drown is to fight as hard as they can to keep their head high above the water. A much better idea to tread water or use a floating technique to conserve energy so that you can make a try for the shore or signal for help.
    1. To tread water, turn yourself upright in the water and make an in-and-out sweeping motion with your arms to stabilize your upper body. As you do this, make an easy, bicycle-like kicking motion to keep yourself afloat.
    2. If you’re completely out of energy, using a survival float can allow you to rest in the water. Turn prone (face-down) and spread your limbs out wide, using only minimal movements to keep yourself afloat. Lift your head when you need to breathe.
    3. Keep in mind that you only need to keep your mouth a little out of the water to be able to breathe — fighting to stay high in the water is usually a waste of energy.

 

  1. Don’t use drugs or alcohol. Being in water while intoxicated by a substance impairs motors skills and judgement. If you’re not sober, do not enter a swimming pool or go swimming at the beach or in a lake.
ambulance

Should you drive a patient to hospital or call an ambulance?

In some cases this decision could mean the difference between life and death.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to decide, don’t hesitate to call Maponya 911 on our emergency contact number – 086 196 0960. Try to avoid escalating the emergency. Transporting the patient to a hospital in an ambulance is always the safest measure of transport.

The following guidelines can help you make that decision – ask yourself these questions, if the answer is “yes”, contact Maponya 911 immediately.

  • Does the patient’s condition seem life threating?
  • Could the patient’s condition get worse and become life threatening on the way to the hospital?
  • Is the patient experiencing pain?
  • Will you get delayed in traffic?
  • If you try to move the person, will it likely lead to more harm?

 

Indicators of a medical emergency:

  • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulty
  • Pains in the chest or abdomen that last two minutes or longer
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vision changes – such as double vision
  • Difficulty when speaking
  • Mental confusion
  • Sudden or severe pain
  • Woman in labour
  • Bleeding that won’t stop after 10 minutes or longer
  • Coughing up blood
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Severe allergic reaction, such as to an insect bite
  • Severe burns
  • Trauma incidents, for example: Gunshots, drowning and motor vehicle accidents

 

Advantages of calling an ambulance:

Maponya 911 provides a safe and speedy trip to the Emergency Room.

The Paramedics or Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) on board will subsidize or relieve any pain on route and provide fluid replacements that may be required.

The Paramedics will inform the ER of the patients’ condition before arriving at the hospital.

Save our emergency number on your phone under “A” for Ambulance: 0861960960.

Image Option 2

HEAT WAVE WARNINGS

While South Africa experiences the worst water shortage since 1992, the country is also in the grip of a scorching heatwave with no relief in sight. Every day sees the mercury soaring over the 40 degree mark, prompting the South African Weather Service to warn people to stay indoors and avoid strenuous activities.

Emergency services have had to treat several people suffering from heat stroke over the past few weeks and a woman even had to be airlifted off Table Mountain on New Year’s Eve after she collapsed from the heat.

Studies say that the very young and the elderly are most at risk during extended periods of extreme heat, specifically to breathing difficulties and heart problems. However, anybody can be affected by dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke if not careful. Make sure you are aware of the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and that you can recognise them before they become critical. According to the Mayo Clinic, typical symptoms include the following:

  • A higher than normal body temperature. Anything above 40 C is considered abnormal
  • Headache
  • Strange behaviour such as confusion, agitation or slurred speech
  • Absence of sweat – heatstroke brought on by hot weather will make your skin feel hot and dry to the touch
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Irregular breathing – your breathing becomes rapid and shallow
  • Increased pulse rate – the heat may cause your heart to race as it has to work harder to try and cool your body

If you suspect that you or somebody around you is experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical attention and call Maponya 911’s Emergency Hotline on 0861 960 960 right away. Then, while you are waiting, get the overheated person indoors, remove any excess clothing and cool the person down in any way that you can – with a cool bath or shower or by packing ice packs or wet towels around the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin.

However, the best way to survive a heatwave is to make sure that it never reaches this critical point; and by employing a few practical tips the worst effects are easily avoided:

  • Make sure you stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, between 11am and 3pm.
  • If possible, keep your curtains and blinds closed to try and keep rooms cool. Light-coloured curtains are also best as light colours reflect heat whereas darker colours absorb it.
  • If you don’t have access to air-conditioning, use fans to encourage circulation of air through your house. Start them up early in the day, before it gets hot.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of cold fluids such as water or fruit juice, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid tea, coffee or alcohol as these are diuretics which cause your body to release more water.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing and make sure you wear a hat if going outdoors.
  • At night, try to turn off as many lights as possible. Lightbulbs emit heat which will only aggravate the situation. If possible, replace existing bulbs with LED bulbs. Not only are LED bulbs more eco-friendly and cheaper to run, they also emit less heat than normal bulbs.
  • Try to avoid using heat producing appliances such as dishwashers, stoves and ovens. Rather eat cold meals such as salads which don’t require cooking and which will help to keep you cool.
  • Use a water-filled spray bottle. Fill a spray bottle with water and place it in the fridge or freezer until the water is ice cold. Then mist yourself with the cold water as needed.
  • Falling asleep when it’s really hot can also be a problem. Keep yourself cool by filling a sock with rice and placing it in the freezer for a few hours. The rice will retain the cold for long periods and can be placed next to you under the covers to help keep you cool.
  • Pets are also particularly vulnerable during a heatwave. Make sure that they have easy access to lots of fresh water and that they can go somewhere to get out of the heat, such as under a shady tree or indoors. Be especially careful not to leave them locked in your car for any length of time.