Heels & Horsepower Magazine

Volkswagen Golf 8 R Coming To A Dealership Near You

On 25 April 2023, Volkswagen will start the sale of its most powerful hatch, the Golf 8 R, in the local market. 

Since the Golf R’s launch in South Africa in 2007, the hatch has sold close to 6 000 units. The new Golf 8 R’s drive technology tops everything that has been launched in the Golf model range thus far. The corresponding drive output is generated by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder EA 888 engine. The new Golf 8 R accelerates to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds. The top speed is 250 km/h. The Golf 8 R impresses with the combination of 400Nm of torque, cutting-edge running gear and the most progressive all-wheel drive in its class.

Standard features in the Volkswagen Golf 8 R include mobile inductive charging, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry with safelock, ‘Discover Pro’ navigation system, Wireless App-Connect and Voice Control, 19-inch Estoril alloy wheels, Adaptive Chassis Control including driving profile selection, Light and Vision Package including light assist, Nappa leather R sport seats as well as a choice of three exterior colours (Pure White, Lapiz Blue metallic and Deep Black Pearl).

Optional features in the Volkswagen Golf 8 R include IQ.Light LED Matrix headlights, Akrapovič R Performance exhaust, Head-Up Display, Harman Kardon sound system, Parallel Park Assist, Rear Assist with a rear view camera, Blind spot monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Assist and electronically folding side mirrors, Travel Assist with Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control, Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking System as well as the Black Performance Package (includes drift mode, an increased top speed of 270 km/h and black 19-inch Estoril alloy wheels).

“Production constraints and parts shortages severely derailed our launch plans, but we are excited to finally extend the performance range in South Africa with the introduction of the new Golf 8 R. The Golf 8 R joins the Golf GTI and the Tiguan R as Volkswagen’s performance derivatives in the South African market,” said Steffen Knapp, Head of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.

Recommended Retail Price (VAT and emissions tax included) 

Golf R 2.0 TSI 235kW DSG®          R912 800

The Golf 8 R also comes standard with a 3 year/120 000km warranty, 5 year/ 100 000km EasyDrive Maintenance Plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. The service interval is 15 000km

New Interest Rate Hike Increases Pressure on Financed Vehicle Owners

Press Release: Wesbank

The recently increased repo rate, coupled with rising inflation, a deteriorating Rand, slow economy, unemployment and other global factors are creating tough living conditions for many South Africans.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has recently announced a further hike in the repo rate of 50 basis points. This is the second rise in interest rates this year, following a 25 basis points increase by the SARB’s Monetary Policy Committee at the end of January. With the repo rate now standing at 7.75% from 7.25%, the current prime lending rate shifts from 10.75% to 11.25%, its highest level since 2009.

This increase directly impacts people who are paying off loans such as vehicle finance or a home loan coupled to the interest rate, as the monthly repayment will increase. In a weak economy with slower inflation, the high cost of living and increasing food prices, many South Africans are struggling to stretch their already-strained budgets to reach month end. The new repo rate announcement puts added pressure on consumers.

“An interest rate hike has a ripple effect across all sectors of the economy. Our customers are not unaffected by this higher cost of borrowing either,” comments Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank. “Those customers whose vehicles are financed through WesBank with a fixed interest rate, are not affected by the rate hike. However, those customers who opted for a linked rate will see their monthly car repayment increasing.”

What is a fixed interest rate versus a linked interest rate?

The interest rate affects the amount a bank or finance house such as WesBank charges you for borrowing money. The amount you need to pay back is determined by the interest rate on your finance agreement and, despite the latest increase, is still relatively low for anyone repaying a vehicle finance loan. When buying a vehicle, new or used, customers have the option to choose between a fixed or linked (variable) interest rate for their vehicle finance agreement.

As it stands, a fixed interest rate will not change for the duration of your payment period. This can work in your favour, especially if the interest rate is as volatile as is currently the case in South Africa, and you want the security of a constant fixed monthly repayment. If the rate drops. you will continue to be charged the agreed higher fixed interest rate.

A linked interest rate is linked to the prime lending rate and fluctuates with the SARB’s repo interest rate. If the rate increases, as it has recently, so will your repayment amount. However, if it is lowered, you will benefit from a lower monthly repayment and have some extra money in your account. Linked interest rates are usually slightly lower than fixed.

“It is also important to remember that vehicle ownership is more than the initial price tag. You also need to take into account the monthly repayments plus the added costs of fuel, comprehensive insurance cover, as well as general maintenance and service expenses. And, of course. the interest rate hikes that continue to directly impact consumers’ monthly budgets,” comments Gaoaketse.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to structuring a car finance deal. Knowing how much you can realistically afford on the vehicle repayment, including interest rates and other increases, will stand you in good stead. But, it’s not only about cars. The increased interest rate also impacts credit cards, home loans and clothing accounts among others. Consumers with additional debt will notice the increased repayments starting to affect their budgets, as household debt levels in South Africa remain at high levels.

Rising interest rates and inflation, brought on by a deteriorating Rand, a tough economy and other global factors, could see buyers postponing new vehicle purchases, buying down or even exiting the new car market altogether in favour of better value in the used car market.

10 Common Driving Mistakes South African Motorists Make

We all know that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a big no-no and as such cannot be categorized as a mistake.

Drunk driving plays a huge factor in road fatalities annually but there are other causes of accidents and fender benders.  Here are just 10 of the most common bad driving practises which can be seen on our roads almost daily.

1. Speeding

Driving at a speed that is unsafe for the current road, weather and lighting conditions can make it difficult, if not impossible to control your vehicle effectively.  Bringing a speeding vehicle to a stop or trying to avoid an obstacle on the road can have fatal consequences as you may lose control completely.  Speed limits are designed to keep drivers safe and it is dangerous to exceed them. Regardless of your environment, aim to drive at a pace which allows you to safely manoeuver your vehicle through curves, down a hill or in the rain.

2. Unsafe Lane Changes

Executing a safe lane change involves quite a few essential steps such as checking your mirrors and blind spot, adjusting your speed, turning on your indicators, finding a safe gap then merging smoothly into the lane.  It is important to remember to look out for cyclists and bikers as these motorists are incredibly vulnerable in an accident.

3. Distracted Driving

Three things are critical for safe driving being: your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind on the task at hand.  Driving distracted negates these essentials, putting all road users at risk.  Multi-tasking is not something motorists should attempt to do because of the ever changing environment of the road and general traffic.  Anything can and most likely will happen without notice and you need to be ready to react immediately – something you may not be able to do if you are texting, eating or your eyes are on the radio controls.

4. Not Maintaining A Safe Following Distance

Many motorists drive distracted resulting in their following the vehicle ahead of them too closely.  The best way to ensure you have a safe cushion of space between your car and the one ahead is to wait for the leading vehicle to pass a fixed point on the road, then start counting to three.  Should you pass the same point before reaching the count of three then you are most likely following too closely.  As a general rule of thumb always increase your following distance at night, when driving behind a truck, in bad weather or when driving behind a motorcycle or cyclist.

5. Driving Too Slowly

This may surprise a few but driving too slowly for the current traffic conditions can be dangerous.  Driving too slowly forces other drivers to either slow down or attempt to pass you and the more often cars pass each other, the greater the chances of there being a collision.

6. Failing To Read/Understand Road Signs

Road signs are there to give motorists information relating to the road or traffic conditions.  It is important not to ignore them as you could find yourself driving too fast into a curve or blasting through a stop sign.

7. Drifting Between Lanes

Failure to stay in your lane is a definite way of annoying other motorists or causing an accident.  In many instances drifting between lanes is due to driving distracted but can also be thanks to poorly marked roads or unskilled driving practises.  With the exception of changing lanes always aim to steer your vehicle within your chosen lane.

8. Driving An Unroadworthy Vehicle

Sadly, driving a less than mechanically sound vehicle is common practise on our roads which leads to avoidable road accidents.  Ranging from worn brakes, faulty indicators and tail lights, to cracked windscreens, dim headlights and damaged wiper blades, driving a vehicle which isn’t in tip-top condition puts you and other road users at risk.  When you think about it, the cost of changing certain car parts is far less than the cost of repairs to a car so it’s worth getting your vehicle regularly by a professional.

9. Poor Evasive Skills

Being attentive on the road is a highly underrated driving skill, but one which could save your life.  Should a toddler dash onto the road in front of you, or if a parcel falls off the truck in front you, you need to be ready to take evasive action.  Attentive driving includes being aware of your surroundings and knowing where the open spaces are that you can escape to.

10. Driving While Drowsy

Similar to driving under the influence, there is no excuse for driving while drowsy.  A safe drive includes being alert, attentive and in control of your vehicle, all of which you cannot do if driving while drowsy.  Make sure you get sufficient rest before getting behind the wheel as tiredness can be fatal.

6 Instances When You Shouldn’t Drive While Pregnant

Is it safe to drive during pregnancy? Most of the time, yes — but there are instances when you have to take extra precautions

Don’t Drive When …. You Have Severe Nausea

If your nausea is so bad you can’t get off the bathroom floor, you probably shouldn’t be getting into the driver’s seat.  Barfing while in the car can be unpleasant but barfing while driving is pretty complicated, especially when you consider that nausea often comes with dizziness and light-headedness, which are just two more no-no’s for driving while pregnant.

Don’t Drive When …. You Can’t Get Into A Safe Seating Position

If you have to push your seat back from the steering wheel so much you can’t reach the brake pedal; or you need to tuck the shoulder belt behind you because it’s too tight across your newly endowed chest etc.

Whatever the accommodation you’re making, if your pregnancy is forcing you to drive in an unsafe position, you need to quit — at least until you can go back to sitting the way you’re supposed to.

Doing anything else increases your risk for traffic accidents, not to mention bodily injury with even normal driving, like if you need to make a sudden stop.

Don’t Drive When …. You Can’t Make Frequent Stops

Speaking of sudden stops, don’t get in the car if you won’t be able to schedule a few breaks along the way to your destination.

When you’re pregnant, you’re at a higher risk for something called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that often starts in the leg and can move up to your lungs, causing severe and potentially fatal consequences.

The best way to avoid a serious blood clot while driving is by doing everything possible to keep that blood flowing, and that means lots of breaks to walk and stretch. Also, you’ll need to stay hydrated, which means lots of loo breaks!

4. Don’t drive when… your pregnancy limits your movement 

If you can’t turn around to see your blind spot, you’re going to have a problem which could compromise your safety.

When your belly is enormous, your back pain is raging, or you’re just too stiff and awkward to check your mirrors or rotate your upper body from side to side while driving, you should opt not to drive at all.

5. Don’t drive when… you can’t pay extra-close attention to the road

Everybody everywhere should be focusing on the road while driving, and this word of warning rings especially true when you’re pregnant because you’re already more susceptible to distractions thanks to nausea, heartburn, insomnia, aches and pains, stress, anxiety, and pregnancy brain.

And distraction makes you extra vulnerable to human error.

If you don’t trust your ability to drive like you’re pre-pregnant self, its bet to catch a ride with someone else.

Don’t Drive When … You Are In Labour

This might sound like a no-brainer, but try to avoid driving yourself to the hospital when you’re in labour! It’s just not safe: Even the mildest of contractions can escalate and intensify out of the blue, leaving you incapacitated.

Additional driving precautions 

Whether you’re the driver or the passenger, getting in a car during pregnancy usually won’t harm you. You should still take some basic precautions, though, to keep yourself extra safe on the road.

  • Bring snacks and drinks

Pregnancy hunger is real. You don’t want to be caught far away from home without any way to hydrate and refuel your body with.

If you’re still experiencing morning sickness, keep crackers, ginger ale, and mints — or whatever your personal nausea remedy is — in your car, as well as a stash of plastic shopping bags, tissues, and disinfecting wipes to handle any sudden-onset of the vomits.

  • Turn off your cell phone (and any other sources of distraction)

Your pregnant brain is already all over the place — you don’t need anything else taking your attention off the road. Silence those texts and calls until you reach your destination.

  • Always see your doctor after any traffic accident

No matter how minor the fender bender or how fine you feel afterward, call your OB-GYN or midwife and ask to be seen for an exam, just to be sure. The best-case scenario is that this ends up feeling unnecessary — but we doubt you’ll regret getting that peace of mind.

There are situations when you should let someone else get behind the wheel or skip the drive altogether. But these aren’t the norm: If you can comfortably and safely sit in the driver’s seat without worrying about distractions, sickness, or limited movement, you’re set to keep driving well into your pregnancy.

Tips To Help Your Aging Parents Drive Safely For Longer

Aging brings new medications, vision decline, slower reaction times and reduced hearing — all of which can pose challenges when you get behind the wheel.

Getting older comes with both positive and less-than-positive changes. On the one hand, you have more time to do the things you love in retirement. 

The following safe driving tips can help you stay safe on the road.

1. Get Your Hearing and Eyesight Checked Regularly

Many people experience impaired hearing and vision problems, such as cataracts or glaucoma, as they get older. This can make it difficult to drive at night or to hear the sounds of approaching traffic. To ensure your senses are functioning as they should, ask your doctor how often you should schedule vision and hearing tests — then follow up on those appointments in a timely manner.   

2. Talk with Your Medical Provider

When you experience changes to your health or start taking new medications, it’s important to discuss side effects with your healthcare provider. Some medications may have side effects that can impair your ability to drive, like increased drowsiness, sensitivity to light and dizziness.

3. Avoid Distractions

No matter your age, avoiding distractions while behind the wheel is a smart decision for everyone. Practice safe driving practices like putting your phone away or turning on the do not disturb function, lowering the volume on the radio, avoiding eating while driving. Rather, do all these things, including adjustments to the vehicle’s mirror and seat settings, before hitting the road.

4. Limit Driving at Night or During Inclement Weather

Driving in low-visibility conditions, like when it’s dark outside or during heavy rain or fog can be dangerous. If possible, try to drive during the daylight and in good weather conditions whenever possible.

5. Choose Routes Carefully

Try to avoid higher-speed roadways like main roads and highways. It’s also good to limit routes that call for making turns onto busy roads. If you have a destination you visit with regular frequency, pick a route that you know well and are comfortable driving.

6. Sign Up for Driving Courses

Not only does a defensive driving course offer a refresher on the rules of the road, it also offers you an opportunity to brush up on your driving skills and possibly earn discounts on your auto insurance.  

7. Allow Extra Space

Give yourself and other drivers extra space to allow for more time to brake or change lanes.

8. Pick a Car with Safety Features

When shopping for a car, consider newer vehicles that include features that can help reduce the likelihood of crashes. Look for options like:

  • forward collision warning;
  • automatic crash notifications;
  • parking assist, backup cameras; lane change assist and
  • self-parking and navigation assistance.

While these features can’t guarantee an accident-free driving experience, they are proven to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents .

9. Be Honest About Your Abilities

Every driver is different, and there’s no set age for when you need to hand over the car keys. So how do you know when it’s time to stop driving? Evaluate your skills and be honest about your abilities.

Here are some signs that might indicate your driving is jeopardizing your safety and the safety of others:

  • Frequent “near-misses” that could cause accidents;
  • Inability to control consistent speeds;
  • Difficulty recognizing the distance between cars and other objects;
  • Difficulty switching lanes;
  • Failure to stop or yield at traffic lights;
  • Forgetting to signal; or
  • Getting lost in familiar areas.

10. Ask for Help

When driving becomes difficult, or if you find yourself confused while on the road, ask for help from a trusted friend or family member. Starting this conversation doesn’t mean you have to completely give up driving; it just might mean you no longer drive at night or you ask a relative to drive when you need to travel long distances. You can also research public transit, taxi services, rideshares, or check with local senior centers to see if they offer transportation in your area. 

Curtailing Illicit Tyre Trade Will Help Improve Safety On Our Roads

The South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) is actively working to address the issue of illicit trade of tyres in South Africa, which are an enormous danger on our roads and contribute to the country’s high accident rate annually.

The SATMC is the representative body of the four leading global tyre manufacturers with manufacturing facilities established in the country, namely Bridgestone Southern Africa, Continental Tyre South Africa, Goodyear South Africa and Sumitomo Rubber South Africa.

Chairperson and CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, Lubin Ozoux, said illicit tyre trade is a growing concern and has far-reaching impacts on the industry, as well as the safety of drivers and passengers on the road.

“The production, import, export, purchase, sale or possession of tyres that fail to comply with the domestic legislation of South Africa must be taken seriously and stamped out. We as the SATMC, representing local tyre manufacturers, are particularly concerned about the entry of substandard and counterfeit tyres into the South African market. These tyres often do not meet the required safety standards, are made with inferior materials and are prone to failure, placing millions of lives at risk on our roads,” he said.  

Illicit trade must be stopped, as this will create a safe and fair market for South Africa, helping to keep millions of lives safer on the roads

Lubin Ozou, Chairperson and CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa

Tyres which are illegally brought into the country pose a serious threat to the safety of South African consumers. While this issue has been a persistent problem for several years, the recent increase could be attributed to the rise in illegal trade activities globally as globalisation and e-commerce continue to expand.

SATMC Managing Executive, Ndu Chala, said the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (TIASA), in collaboration with the SATMC, has been working closely with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to root out illicit trade in the industry.

SATMC Managing Executive, Ndu Chala, said the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (TIASA), in collaboration with the SATMC, has been working closely with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to root out illicit trade in the industry.

“This influx is concerning, and we have endeavoured to collaborate with the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (TIASA), the Tyre Equipment Parts Association (TEPA) and the government through the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) to detect non-compliant behaviour, and ensure consequences for those found to have resorted to this illegal and criminal behaviour,” added Chala.

Ozoux said all role players in the tyre industry including manufacturers, importers, dealers and distributors are aligned and collaborating to tackle the scourge of illicit tyre trade. The SATMC has also introduced a number of solutions, including increased collaboration with law enforcement agencies to enforce regulations, and increased public awareness through targeted campaigns.

“Illicit trade must be stopped, as this will create a safe and fair market for South Africa, helping to keep millions of lives safer on the roads, and protecting local jobs. If reducing the unacceptably high number and cost of road deaths in South Africa is a priority for us all, then we simply cannot continue to allow illegal and often inferior tyres to keep proliferating the local market. Only legitimate and safe tyres should be available to South African consumers,” said Ozoux.

The Future Of Car Insurance is Digital

What does the future of car insurance look like for the average driver, and how will these digital changes affect your overall car insurance premiums?

With an ever-changing economic landscape and the coming-of-age evolution of the car insurance industry, it is best to keep abreast of these changes for your financial benefit.

Imagine a digitalised world of car insurance where driving behaviour monitoring tools could help you save on your monthly insurance premiums? That future is not far off. With insurance companies looking for ways to streamline their car insurance packages and digitalisation is quickly growing as a means of doing just that. Digitised automation tools help provide a streamlined process as well as provide users with valuable insights.

As the digital world rapidly expands and the demand for seamless interaction grows, insurers are dependent on automated tools to deliver a seamless and well-integrated user experience.

Here are the three ways in which technology will be driving the future of auto insurance.

1. Digital

The inner workings of the car insurance industry are relatively the same as it has been since its inception. The assessment of risk and payment of claims has not changed much since the offset of the insurance industry.

Advancement in technology has not only provided tremendous room for growth and improvement but has also presented a unique set of challenges. By introducing the necessary automated tools to meet these demands, insurance companies can stand above their contemporaries.

Here are a few digital innovations sure to positively disrupt the car insurance industry with advanced automated technology.

Future digital technological advancements for car insurance

  1. Online sales technologies. Progressive technology will provide the insurer with state-of-the-art methods for targeting customers and analysing consumer patterns.
  2. Advanced analytics allows insurers a comprehensive insight into the specific needs of their clients.
  3. Machine learning allows information systems to adjust to new data without having to reprogram the system.
  4. The internet of things is a convergence of multiple technologies such as real-time analytics and machine learning.

The versatility of the digital landscape combined with the advancement in technology will be beneficial to the car insurance industry.

How digitising car insurance will be beneficial for future sustainability:

  • An enhanced digital experience can boost overall customer satisfaction levels.
  • Digital enhancements and technological advancements can save the car insurance industry money by reducing costs.
  • A digitalised approach to car insurance will significantly increase organisational speed and agility.
  • The digital journey provided by car insurance companies can drastically reduce the loopholes needed to complete the customers’ online journey.

An evolving digital landscape allows insurers to utilise data gathered from social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for a more holistic insurance experience. Social media platforms connect insurers with customers, growing brand awareness and sales outreach.

2. Predictive

Simply put, predictive analytics provide the necessary insight into customers’ behaviour and can flag potential fraud risks, among other things. Predictive technology allows the insurer to understand the customer in a more precise and targeted manner. Essentially, predictive analytics keeps track of a customer’s online historical data.

Predictive analytic tools assist in forecasting events while providing valuable insight into consumer patterns, making for a more customised solution. Car insurance policyholders could benefit from these advancements by enjoying lower premiums based on the data collected from predictive analytics. Not only does the customer benefit from predictive analytics, but the incorporation of predictive analytics into the claims management and underwriting process also proves to be profitable for the car insurance industry. There are a few more benefits associated with predictive analytics for car insurance.

Benefits of predictive analytics for car insurance:

  • The use of predictive analytics can anticipate customer trends and needs. Because the car insurance industry is so competitive, forecasting events ahead of time allows the insurer to minimise risk while keeping abreast of the latest consumer trends.
  • The data gathered from social media platforms can assist insurers with customer service satisfaction levels by solving general insurance issues relatively quickly. Predictive analytics has the potential to bridge the gap between consumer satisfaction and customer service delivery.
  • Predictive analytics can assist insurers by helping to identify specific target markets, increasing potential sales and new insurance prospects.
  • Identifying a client’s potential risk of cancellation is vital to the car insurance industry. Predictive analytics can help insurance specialists to establish which customers are most likely to lower their coverage or cancel entirely. Armed with this valuable information, insurers can plan accordingly. Predictive analytics provide the insight needed for contingency plans that boost the sustainability of the car insurance industry.
  • The last and most beneficial of predictive analytics is that it allows an insurer to identify potential fraud before it happens. Predictive analytics can flag potential fraud ahead of time, minimising the risk factor for insurers.

The two main advantages offered by predictive analytic tools are detailed insight and a cost-effective approach to problem-solving. Here are a few more ways in which predictive analytics will shape (or may already be shaping!) the future of car insurance.

How predictive analytics will shape the future of car insurance:

  1. The traditional and slow approach to underwriting in the car insurance industry will be radically transformed and reshaped by the advancement of predictive analytics. Because of the speed and efficiency with which predictive analytics can process data, the process of underwriting is faster and more accurate. The data collected by predictive analytic tools sift through multiple sources of online information, assesses potential risk based on a customer’s profile, and underwrites accordingly.
  2. Predictive analytics is steadily shaping the future of car insurance companies by gathering data from customers and workers alike. Predictive analytics allows the car insurance industry to meet clients at their point of need and retain existing clients. It also allows insurers to monitor staff and provide them with the tools that they will need to do their jobs more efficiently.
  3. Marketing in the motor insurance industry is vital for attracting new business. Using predictive analytics can assist insurers in identifying the most common and effective platforms to deliver their marketing content.

In essence, the use of predictive analytics helps insurers to create a database of valuable information. The information gathered from predictive analytics can revolutionise the car insurance industry by providing historical online customer data that predict future behaviours for both clients and staff.

3. Usage-Based

Gone are the days when your car insurance premiums are calculated on your age, demographic location, marital status, and the number of dependants. Usage-based car insurance will revolutionise car insurance premiums by resulting in cheaper premiums, drastically opening up the market for potential new business.

Usage-based car insurance calculates your monthly premiums based on the factual data retrieved from your vehicle via a mobile app or plug-in device. Technically, a usage-based approach means that your premiums depend on the actual amount of time you spend driving your car. The idea is that less time spent driving reduces the risk of an accident. Safe drivers also have an added advantage as the premiums decrease based on the safety levels of driving.

Usage-based car insurance models provide vital insight into the real-world driving experience of a car insurance policyholder. It also makes it possible to assess risk based on the individual’s real-time driving behaviour.

Usage-based car insurance works well for infrequent and safe drivers. There are, however, benefits associated with usage-based car insurance. Let’s have a look at what those are.

Other technology trends in the car insurance industry:

  • Telematics– The inner workings of telematics technology combines telecommunications, vehicular technology, electrical engineering, and computer science to monitor moving vehicles. The ground-breaking advancement is wearable technology for your automobile and progressively tracks and monitors driving habits. As an example, our app comes with the option to activate Emergency Alert. Emergency Alert automatically detects whether you’ve been in a serious car accident directly from your phone and triggers an alert to our 24-hour emergency call centre to get you help as soon as possible.
  • Conversational Chatbots-Gone are the days when car insurance queries were agent-driven. Conversational chatbots are now a popular and efficient means of assisting car insurance clients with everything from claims to general FAQs.

Given the ever-changing landscape of both the car insurance industry and the digital landscape, it is not difficult to see why the future of car insurance is heavily dependent on evolving with the digital times. Because of the competitive nature of the car insurance industry, it is crucial for car insurance companies to stay on top of the motor insurance game.

The use of automation tools in the car insurance industry is hastily reshaping the digital landscape, disrupting car insurance companies positively in the process. Technological advancements will only do more good for the future of car insurance in the long run by streamlining processes, cutting down on underwriting time, and making fraud detection easier. All in all, it is a win-win situation for both the insurer and the car insurance policyholder.

Keeping abreast of the changes at the forefront of the car insurance industry makes for exciting times ahead. Not only will digital, predictive, and usage-based car insurance take the edge off some already stressful car insurance processes, but it will provide a more comprehensive approach to car insurance as a whole.

Welcome to the future!

Source: Mi-Way Insurance

What To Do When You Hit A Pothole

Swerving on pothole filled roads makes you look like a very intoxicated driver.

Potholes have become the norm on South African roads and it is not always possible to avoid driving through them. Here are a few guidelines on what to do if you hit one or more potholes.  

Be Aware Of Weather Conditions and Dim Light

Be especially cautious when driving in wet and low light conditions as potholes are very difficult to identify in such circumstances. 

Be Aware of Oncoming Traffic

When trying to avoid a pothole drivers may automatically swerve into the lane of oncoming traffic road but this could be risky and highly dangerous.  If you do need to move into the lane of oncoming traffic be utterly confident that it is safe to do so.

Stay The Course

If you realise too late that you are about to hit a pothole, it is advisable that you drive straight towards it and not make any sudden steering movements as this might unsettle your car. Sudden braking or accelerating could also jeopardise your safety and that of people around you.

After hitting a pothole….

Assess the damage

Stop to check for damage to your tyre and rim if it is safe to do so. Look out for cuts or bulges on the sidewall of the affected tyres.

If it is not safe to stop, reduce your speed and continue driving while actively listening out for anomalies coming from your tyre such as the hissing sound of air escaping from your tyre. 

Also check that your car is not pulling to one side.

Check Your Insurance Cover

Review your insurance policy and make sure that it covers damage caused by potholes, if it does not, shop around for a more progressive insurance company which offers this very vital cover.

Checking Motorcycle Engine Oil Through The Inspection Window

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fair-weather rider or a daily commuter, regular motorcycle maintenance is not just essential, but achievable at home.

If your bike is reasonably modern, it will often have an inspection window, low down on one side of the engine. You may have to get close to the ground to see inside properly, and we recommend doing this in daylight, so you can get an idea of the level and the condition of your oil.

The inspection window will have marks at the top and the bottom, and your engine oil level should be somewhere between the two. If the level is above or below these lines, you must act immediately to either drain a little oil away or to top off your oil level.

Just as importantly, you also need to assess the condition of the oil. It should be either green or yellow, as well as shiny and semi-transparent.

If your oil is dark brown or black and you can’t see through it, or you can see sludge deposits, it is definitely time for an oil and filter change.

Alternatively, if you can see metal particles in the oil, this can be an early indication of engine problems ahead; while if the oil looks at all milky, it can often indicate a coolant leak. In either of these two cases, you should consult a mechanic or repair shop to rule out or deal with serious problems as soon as possible.

The Truth About Vehicle Finance Balloon Payments

When it comes to vehicle finance, balloon payment deals are possibly the most commonly misunderstood of all installment-type payment options.

In this article, Lebogang Gaoaketse, WesBank’s Head of Marketing and Communication sheds light on the subject of balloon payment deals and shares advice for consumers considering this type of repayment option for their next car purchase.

Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank
Q : What is a balloon payment deal?

Lebogang Gaoaketse : When taken at face value, balloon payment deals may seem like an easy way to drive a car you simply cannot afford. You’re basically taking an amount owed on the purchase price of a car and setting it aside, in turn making monthly instalments lower because they are calculated on a smaller initial debt owed to the bank. It’s important to remember, however, that the amount set aside at the start of the deal is still the buyer’s responsibility and will need to be settled.

Q : What are the benefits associated with balloon payments?

Lebogang Gaoaketse : Balloons are designed to help ease the burden of monthly expenses, but the luxury of lower repayments every month does come with a great deal of responsibility for the buyer. When used correctly, the money saved on repayments should more than cover the costs of a loan needed to refinance the lump sum of debt at the end of a balloon term. Put simply, customers should aim to reserve the money they save every month in order to make settling the outstanding amount owed on a vehicle easier after years of driving it.

Q : Saving money isn’t easy even at the best of times but why is there an emphasis on savings when it comes to balloon payment deals?

Lebogang Gaoaketse : Extremely responsible budgeting is key to maximising the benefits of a balloon deal, so if you know you might struggle with saving money every month, then this option is probably not the best one for you.

There is a big difference between being able to afford driving a car and being able to afford owning it.  We advise customers to consider much more than only monthly repayments when calculating vehicle finance affordability. While installment amounts may seem like the bottom line, other responsibilities such as fuel, insurance, tyres, regular upkeep, unrelated living expenses and, in the case of balloon payments, that all important lump sum owed also needs to be taken into account when looking at affordability.

Q : We often hear the term ‘breakeven point’. Tell us what it is and how it becomes a factor when financing a vehicle.

Lebogang Gaoaketse : Breakeven points are critically important to understand.  A breakeven point occurs when a financed vehicle’s trade-in value falls in line with the amount still owed to the bank. Depending on the finance deal structure, a breakeven point may come sooner or later during your term, with sooner always being the goal. By nature, balloon payments will push your breakeven point to a later date within a loan period.

South African drivers have an unhealthy tendency to upgrade their vehicles and enter new finance deals more often than is financially viable. Rolling outstanding debt into a new purchase, or in other words, paying off a portion of your old car while driving your new one is a dangerous trap to fall into. Irresponsible buyers who do this multiple times not only push their breakeven point very far out of reach, but in extreme cases can owe the bank an amount that is more than what their asset, or car, will ever be worth. 

It’s also important to not see a balloon payment as an alternative to a deposit put down at the start of a loan. A healthy deposit on a new or used car will always make your financial road an easier one to travel, as repayment costs and the deferred balloon debt will be lower.

WesBank strongly advises keeping monthly repayments, the value of a current car, and balloon debts evenly balanced.

Safety Tip of the Week: How to cool your car down quickly

By H&H Admin

The South African sun can be harsh, making it difficult to drive safely. 

There are a few ways you can reduce the heat levels within your car either by using sun shades or window tinting.

Here are a couple of ways you can cool your car down quickly so that you and your passengers can enjoy a comfortable drive as soon as possible.

  1. If you drive a car that enables you to open your windows remotely, do so as you approach your vehicle.
  2. If not, simply open all the windows all the way down as soon as you get in it.
  3. Turn the air conditioner on to the coldest setting and crank it all the way up.
  4. Make sure you set the air con to fresh so that air from outside comes into the vehicle.  Avoid recycling the air which is already inside the car.
  5. Adjust the airflow so that blows through the footwells and not directly towards your face
  6. Drive like this for a few minutes until all the hot air has been pushed out of the car.
  7. Only put your windows up when the air inside is cooler than the air outside.
  8. Change the air-con setting to recycle so that the cool air circulates within the car.
  9. Adjust the aircon temperature to your desired setting
  10. Enjoy a cool drive!

Remember that the interior of a car can reach dangerously high temperatures very quickly which is why it is never a good idea to leave small children, the elder, or pets unattended in a car.

Safety Tip of the Week: Driving on old tyres is extremely dangerous

By H&H Admin

One of the biggest risks to motorists is driving on old or expired tyres.

Similar to most things in life, tyres become less effective the older they become, even if your car is parked for a long your tyres haven’t run for a long while.

Being exposed to the elements can cause the rubber and other critical components in your tyres to degrade; cracks can form and the steel belts inside your tyre can gradually begin to separate.

Most tyre manufacturers recommend that you replace your tyres after 10 years, regardless of their appearance.