Essential winter road safety tips

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As the icy winter tightens its grip on South Africa, you need to make sure you take the right precautions and maintain your car. Follow these tips to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. 

Windscreen
Make sure the rubber has not corroded in your windscreen wipers ahead of the rainy weather. If you’re in areas of South Africa that experience a dry winter, you should refrain from pouring boiling water on icy windscreens. Apply some cold or lukewarm water to remove ice, you can also try using your defog on the inside of your car. 

Tyres
Between wet weather and dry icy weather, you need to always make sure your tyres have good tread to ensure grip on the road. Keep your tyres properly pumped and your wheels aligned. Being prepared and maintaining your tyres on a regular basis can extend the life of your tyres. 

Headlights
Early mornings and late afternoons shrouded in darkness make it even more important to switch your headlights on early. Statistically, dark coloured cars are more likely to have accidents, which makes it more imperative that if you drive a dark car, you need to turn your lights on early. Make sure your headlights are always in working condition. 

Useful links
How to defog your windscreen: http://bit.ly/1mQXrbc
How the colour of your car affects your car insurance: http://bit.ly/1mf0YnN 

You should always make sure you have the best car insurance you can afford, it can save you from financial burdens if you lose control on the icy roads. 

6 factors in choosing a new car

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As the second biggest investment you’ll make during your lifetime, buying a car needs to be a well thought out plan. Other than the obvious factor of price, we have a useful list that you should consider in choosing a car.

Consider a few things before you buy a new car.

Insurance
Although car insurance is not mandatory in South Africa, it’s best to have at least the most basic form of car insurance to protect other drivers and yourself from financial liability.

The general rule of thumb is the higher the price of your car, the higher the insurance premium because it costs more to repair or replace it. Insuring newer cars compared to older cars at their market value is also usually higher. Other factors influence your insurance premium include:

-type of car
-type of engine capacity
-year of car’s manufacture
-age of car driver or owner
-driving experience, premiums are lower for drivers with more experience
-where your car is stored, on the street or in a garage

You can snap up a great cheap car insurance quote from Click n Compare.

Prioritise Safety Equipment and Adds Ons
You should have a checklist ranked in importance for essentials such as air bags, seat belts, anti-lock brake systems and more. You can also add a few extras lower on the list like a sunroof or fog lights.

You can look at adding body kits as well but seeing as they come in packages from the dealers, you should truly weigh up whether you will actually utilize each feature.

Incentives and Rewards
Dealerships often offer incentives or rewards for buying with a low finance rate. Be aware that to qualify for these low financing rates, you need to maintain a good credit score. Keep an eye out for festive offers such as Christmas offers where body kits and other additional extras may be on promotion.

Resale Value
If you buy a new car every 5 to 10 years, you should definitely consider the resale value of your car seeing a new car depreciates by around 60% of the original purchase price after five years. You should also note that the resale of a hybrid car would be higher, however the purchase price of a hybrid car is always higher than a petrol or diesel car. Many factors affect your resale value, they include:

-brand of the car
-history of reliability
-mileage
-current fuel efficiency
-age of your car in years
-level of wear and tear
-any add-ons used for aesthetics or performance
-whether you do a direct private sale or go through a used-car dealership

Fuel Efficiency
This refers to how much petrol or diesel (in litres) your car consumers per 100km. South Africa and the world has faced recent instability, which has affected the price of fuel. Finding a fuel-efficient car has become a necessity and as a result, more people are turning towards hybrids. Hybrid cars are able to minimize the amount of petrol consumed compared to regular petrol and diesel cars.

Warranty and Maintenance Plan
Experiencing car trouble such as breaking down can be a very costly event that can run into the thousands of rand. However, by having your warranty in place, you can avoid the costly fees. Most new cars come with a 3 year or 60 000km or 5 year or 100 000km warranty plan. If you are looking to for a used car, you should opt for one with the balance of the warranty in tact. Take note of what is included in the warranty as some expensive components may be excluded.

You should also look for a car that has a comprehensive maintenance plan, whether it is a new car or a used car, you should find a car with a dealership approved maintenance plan. By having perfect records of maintenance from the car brand’s dealership, you can also increase the resale value because it has been documented as being well looked after.

This article has been adapted from Iris Lee’s article, view the original here: http://bit.ly/1vETP1r

5 need to know tips to get the right home loan

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You can buy your dream home but there are a few things you need to do before you apply including preparing the legal documents, saving for the down payment and more.

Portrait happy Hispanic family sitting with house in background

Buying your dream home can soon become a reality, especially with some thoughtful planning.

1. Save for the down payment
You should create a monthly budget to put money aside to save up for your home’s down payment.

2. Check your credit card
Get a copy of your credit report, you can obtain one free credit report per year from your bank, according to South African law. You may need to improve your credit score to be more attractive to home loan lenders.

3. Prepare your legal documents
You will usually have to provide various financial documents such as your last two pay cheques, your recent tax returns, and your current bank statement, and more.

4. Use a mortgage calculator
You can work out exactly how much you can afford while taking into account the down payment, interest rates, and more. Try this bond calculator.

5. Consult a broker
Apply with Click n Compare and our broker will help you through the whole process. You can apply for an affordable home loan: http://www.clickncompare.co.za/money/home-loans

©Diane Moalem for Click n Compare

6 expert tips to boost your Internet security

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Are you doing enough to protect your personal information online? Follow these six easy expert tips to boost your Internet security. We seek some expert advice on how to boost your Internet security.

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1. Make sure you have a great anti-virus to protect your computer from malware and hackers. You can try the household names of Norton, Mcafee, or the free yet reliable anti-virus, AVG.

2. Try Microsoft’s password checker to make sure your password is full proof to hackers. By simply checking whether your password is strong enough, you can protect your valuable and personal information from being hacked. Note, never share your passwords with anyone.
Go to https://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/password-checker.aspx

3. Avoid Internet phishing, these scams trick you into giving over your banking details and your personal details. We often encounter these emails, which claim to be from a reputable source such as your bank, which ask you to verify your details online. Your bank and no other websites should ever ask you for your banking details through an email, you should report this email as spam.
For more information on phishing, go to http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/p/phishing.htm

4. Split your emails with one email address for work, one for social, and one for personal to keep your financial information safe. Not only with this help you declutter your daily emails, it protects your personal information by preventing easy access for hackers through social emails.

5. Upgrade your Internet browser from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome, it’s faster and more secure. You can download Google Chrome for free, and it comes with a variety of useful plugins that can improve your surfing experience.

6. Install a site adviser to check each site is safe before you click on it. If you are browsing through search results, each website will have either a green, orange, or red symbol next to it representing that the site is either safe, possible unsafe, or dangerous. This can help you steer clear of phishing websites.

Make sure you are using a fast and reliable Internet connection, you can easily compare and save on the best capped and uncapped broadband deals in South Africa.

©Diane Moalem for Click n Compare

Putting the “worthy” into roadworthy, do you qualify?

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Roadworthy is a legal requirement, it ensures the safety of your car for everyday use. We’ll give you the facts, the requirements, and helpful information to make sure your car is roadworthy.

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Up to 80% of cars are unroadworthy in the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, according to a study by the National Vehicle Testing Association. Unroadworthy cars have also been attributed to the cause of up to 9% of all car accidents. Legislation proposed by government and the National Vehicle Testing Association for mandatory “periodic vehicle testing” is currently going through the process to be implemented. These contributing factors make it imperative to understand and maintain your car’s roadworthy certificate, luckily we’ll give you the facts, requirements, and more to obtain the certificate with ease.

Why do you need it?
A roadworthy certificate proves that your car is in full working condition for daily use on the road. You can get this through private or government means but it is essential. If your car is found to be unroadworthy, your car can be impounded by the police. Additionally, your car insurance company will not pay out a claim if your car is unroadworthy.

How often do I need to get the roadworthy certificate?
Legally speaking, you would only require a roadworthy certificate at the sale and purchase of a car. You should also note that it is the buyer’s responsibility to make sure the car is roadworthy. You need to have a valid roadworthy certificate before you transfer the car into your name. You would also need to have your new car tested for roadworthy within 21 days of purchasing the car.


Note, if you use your vehicle as a means of public transport, it’s a legal requirement to have your car tested for roadworthiness each year. Busses need to have their roadworthiness checked every 6 months. Please keep in mind that a roadworthy certificate is only valid for sixty days.


The National Director of the National Vehicle Testing Association, Joy Oldale, said her team had worked tirelessly for eight years to submit legislation to the government to enforce “periodic vehicle testing”. Aimed at increasing road safety and decreasing road fatalities, the proposed mandatory vehicle testing would occur every 24 months. The government and the NVTA are optimistic that the legislation would have a positive impact in South Africa, it has thus made it through the legislative process to public opinion stage.

Where do I go to get my roadworthy certificate?
You can go to one of over 500 testing stations around South Africa. To find your closes motor vehicle testing station, you can go to the National Traffic Information System (eNatis), here http://www.enatis.com/. Your application will be processed on the same day, according to a consultant at Hillstar Vehicle Testing Centre. Depending on the queue of vehicles waiting for the test, the entire process of receiving the application, getting your car tested, and returning for the paperwork can range from an hour to a few hours.

What should I bring?
The Assistant Director of Vehicle and Driver Fitness for the Western Cape listed three things to bring with you. You would need your car’s registration certificate to prove that the car is registered in your name. You will also need to produce a form of identity that is linked to your car’s registration. Please note that only your green South African ID book or your passport will be accepted. You will also need to bring money with you to pay for the application associated fees and fees associated for the actual test. Each province has different yet similar pricing. The prices for the Western Cape, at the time of publishing, for a light motor vehicle are R135 for the application process and R33 for the test. Please note that if you go to a private roadworthy testing station, the government prices will not apply.

What does the testing centre examine?
The roadworthiness test checks the following aspects of the vehicle:
• identification and documentation
• electrical systems
• fittings and equipment (including mirrors, safety belts, etc.)
• braking system
• wheels (including tyre condition)
• suspension and undercarriage
• steering
• engine
• exhaust system
• transmission and driving instruments
• vehicle dimensions

You can see the full roadworthiness testing sheet in the Government Gazette of 23 November 2005 (no 28227), available here: http://www.westerncape.gov.za/other/2005/12/rwt_eng.pdf
You can also read this helpful guide to checking if your car is currently roadworthy: http://bit.ly/1prjQ2v

Useful links:
A private testing station: http://www.dekraauto.co.za/roadworthy
List of government testing stations: http://www.enatis.com/
Government roadworthy information: http://bit.ly/RLYfXq

*Click n Compare is South Africa’s best comparison site featuring Insurance, Mobile, Broadband, Financial Services, and Travel. Check out our website at www.clickncompare.co.za and our social media on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

©Diane Moalem for Click n Compare

Does Your Cellphone Obsession Make You a Nomophobe?

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Do you get crippling anxiety when you’re without your cellphone? You could have nomophobia, the fear of being without your cellphone. Diane Moalem investigates this new-age phenomenon.

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Nomophobics fear being without their cellphone ©Shutterstock

We have all experienced that rising panic as you reach down to your pocket and realise your cellphone is missing. The sheer dread that fills you in that instant is overwhelming. You feel the panic start to rise, you feel abandoned, isolated, and as if you are having trouble breathing. Nomophobia (NoMobile Phobia), the fear and anxiety of not having your cell phone is a new age affliction that affects more people than you would think with 13 million people, equating to 53% of cell phone users in the UK suffering, according to a survey.

 

Although we shrug this off as something most people have mildly, it has become a legitimate concern for many nomophobic sufferers. We rely on our cell phones, smartphones especially, for almost everything. Our society has become so dependent on these small devices as a connection to the world through the internet, messaging, and obviously through calls. We use these gadgets to check the time, to capture our favourite moments, to entertain us, to control a business, and to keep us company. Smartphones are constantly evolving to become so personalised that they have become an extension of your personality and who you are.

 

Clinical psychologist, Lee-Ann Hartman, a specialist in anxiety disorders explains that losing your cell phone is more than just losing your photos and contacts, it’s losing your connection to people that you hold dear. Patients who suffer from nomophobia show a fear of isolation, disconnection and extreme discomfort. A British survey performed by Stewart Fox-Mills found that over 13 million people suffer from nomophobia, which equates to 53% of mobile users. Another survey in 2012 by Onepoll and SecurEnvoy of 1000 people found 66% of people suffered from a degree of nomophobia. While mostly affecting young people between 18 and 24, more women were found to show symptoms. Nomophobia shares symptoms with other anxiety disorders and includes:

  • Panic attacks
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Chest pain
  • Elevated heartbeat

 

Situations that cause these reactions range from losing or leaving your phone at home, entering areas with no signal, a dead battery, running out of airtime and even voluntarily switching your cell phone off. Hartman adds that you would endure a period of extreme discomfort if you are without your smartphone. You can tell if you are showing signs of nomophobia if you compulsively look at your phone multiple times a day, dubbed “ringxiety”, get anxious about losing network coverage or experience one of the above symptoms when without your smartphone. The advance of fast-paced technology can become addictive as it creeps into more aspects of your life, Hartman says. Smartphones allow us to connect socially, interpersonally, for business and being without it creates a fear of missing out.

 

According to Hartman, smartphone interaction can be a form of reward. We are able to deepen bonds between the people with which you communicate, you can gain social status by who you interact with, what smartphone you have and sharing content, such as images, can provide you with instant gratification from your peers. Instant gratification can become addictive as it reinforces the behaviour associated with using a smartphone. People may develop anxiety once this instant gratification is removed but whether this translates into a phobia remains to be seen. Affected people thus tend to search for the best cellphone deals to ensure they are always connected to avoid their nomophobia at all costs.

 

A journal article written by Nicola Luigi Bragazzi and Giovanni Del Puente was published in 2014 in the Psychological Research and Behaviour Management journal proposing the inclusion of nomophobia as an anxiety disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). Bragazzi and Puente’s article suggests patients would use their cellphones, smartphones especially, in an impulsive way. They could use smartphones as a protective shield, as an object of transition, or even to avoid real-life social communication.

 

Hartman agrees with the inclusion of a new category in the DSM-V for technology-related disorders. She stated that it’s becoming exceedingly important to look at how tech-based disorders have altered the way people express and feel anxiety and the context that causes the anxiety. Hartman says she has encountered several private patients with these symptoms, with Samsung Galaxy smartphones being the biggest cause, but she didn’t have a name for the disorder.

 

Hartman suggested that people are developing nomophobic symptoms because of the current immediacy of tech-culture and information consumption that once people are away from it, they experience an overwhelming fear of missing out, or FOMO. Interestingly, both the Bragazzi journal article and Hartman suggest cognitive-behavioural therapy as a possible treatment for the phobia.

 

In contrast, another Johannesburg-based Clinical psychologist Kevin Bolon, thinks that nomophobia is more of a side-effect of existing anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder. He says that the condition can be explained and incorporated by other disorders that induce crippling anxiety. Braggazi’s journal article and Hartman both echo a degree of Bolon’s sentiment as preliminary research has shown a high comorbidity rate (two disorders occurring at once).

 

Nomophobia has garnered a fair amount of critics yet many believe technological advancements integrated into our lives have created a level of dependency leading to compulsive disorders and anxiety disorders. Whether nomophobia or other technology-related anxiety disorders will be officially recognised in our fast-paced world remains to be seen, but there is certainly mounting evidence for the existence of nomophobia.

Until then, arm yourself with the longest-lasting cheap smartphone battery and LTE.

 

©Diane Moalem for Click n Compare