Just face it: Hong Kong is probably not the easiest place to drive in the world, with frequent traffic congestions, rude and grumpy road users, limited parking spaces, and narrow and worn-out roads. However, as limited as our individual efforts are, the least we can do is to take precautionary measures when getting behind the wheel to protect ourselves, our passengers, as well as other road users. As we celebrate the new year of the pig, Kwiksure will divulge the following tips for having a safe and claims-free 2019.
1. Routine check-ups
Your responsibility as a driver does not end when you stop the engine. It is imperative for car owners to perform regular inspections for their automobiles to keep them running right. Failure to do so may result in mechanical failure and road accidents. Simple and periodic DIY inspection goes a long way in ensuring your car is in good condition.
Check the oil level and color to ascertain it is running smoothly and your engine is working fine. You should take your car in for an oil change on a regular basis as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. It is also an easy way to catch a leak.
The tire pressure
Tires that are improperly inflated can cause blowouts that lead to accidents. A tire pressure gauge is an affordable and easy to use tool that can prevent a flat tire or worse. Another quick way to check your tires is to insert an HK$10 coin between the treads. If all of the gold-colored center is exposed, the tires are ready to be replaced. Not only can new tires prevent potential accidents, but they can also help your car stop more reliably and shorten your stopping distance thanks to better grip.
The fluid levels
Checking the fluid levels is a simple step that every driver can do. Simply open the hood, find the oil dipstick, pull it out, and wipe it down. Look out for the five types of fluids, namely engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid. Keep them at an optimal level according to the recommendations in your owner’s manual.
2. Follow traffic regulations
Be sure to follow traffic rules and don't go over the speed limit. As we talked about in detail in this article, the most common traffic offenses drivers should avoid at all costs include:
Deliberately jumping red lights
Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs
Driving without vehicle insurance
Driving without a valid license
In Hong Kong, the traffic offenses take on a penalty-points and fixed penalty system. You can refer to this website for more information. Among different driving offenses, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs (DUI) convictions are considered particularly serious. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $25,000 and 3 years’ imprisonment.
3. Don’t drive when you’re tired
Driving under fatigue can be very dangerous, which can lead to slower reaction times and increases the risk of drifting out of your lane. Many traffic accidents in Hong Kong involve tried drivers. For instance, an overworked coach driver rammed into a taxi, killing five people and injuring 32 last November. While there is no breathalyzer or official alcohol level standard to measure how tired you are, if you are aware of signs of tiredness, such as drowsiness, yawning, and a loss of concentration, you should refrain from or at least take a break from driving.
4. Park your car in a safe place
We understand how hard it is to find a parking space in Hong Kong, but if you are not parking in a legal zone, such as when you are in-between lines, your car may be ticketed and towed. And there is a chance that the insurer may reduce or even reject your claim.
Besides, you should also ensure that you park your car in a safe place decked with security cameras to minimize your chance of thieves.
5. Review your auto insurance policy
Although we all want to have a safe and claims-free year, it is also crucial that we check our insurance policy to ensure the benefit limit and scope of coverage are enough to meet our needs. For example, in the new year, you may want to switch your third-party only insurance to third party fire & theft (TPFT) or even comprehensive insurance so as to gain access to wider coverage.
Having said that, car insurance jargon and complexities can make securing the best deal an ordeal for drivers. And there is a copious amount of plans and insurers on the market. That’s why it is worth the effort to engage the service of a reputable insurance broker like Kwiksure. With over 19 years of experience, our team has close work relationships with 60+ insurers in Hong Kong and can compare plans from the customer’s perspective. Contact us today for impartial insurance advice, a no-obligation quote, or/and a free plan comparison.