Manufacturers produce vehicles that are tailored to the average driver and have the best settings for durability, economy, comfort and efficiency (the conservative).

This satisfies most drivers, but some, perhaps because a ‘value’ model cannot be found/supplied by a supplier. They modify and alter the dynamic of their vehicles not only to attract visually but also to boost their performance. How does this affect road safety, and will these changes jeopardize road lives?

In a question and concern about vehicle changes, we asked some of our colleagues who had intimate knowledge of the auto industry and how they could affect our safety on roads and on safe driving.

What are modifications and alterations best described? Will we understand the essence and intent of these changes?

The modifications and innovations in motor vehicles are basically the same.

With regard to functional explanations, adjustments will not impact efficiency, as would usually be adjustments.

Changes to the original vehicle parameter specifications can be defined in a simple way, with the goal of largely improving the efficiency of the vehicle in the fuel consumption, load capacity, cosmetic trim, 0 – 100 km/h or high speed. Where these modifications/alterations do not comply with the requirements of the Road Traffic Act, they will be deemed illegal.

Changes in graphics

This will involve artwork, glitter, grilling, dark lights or the so-called “Angel’s Eyes,” etc. Changes affecting only esthetics but none of the other groups. Typically, the impact on vehicle operation, efficiency or protection will not be obvious.

While this is an immense business, it is largely harmless.

Functional improvements or enhancements

These include suspension raises, larger wheels, tinted glass, HID headlights, etc.

The driver needs the vehicle to be sportier and to adjust the tires and wheels (bigger / wider) so that it is less vulnerable to the floor. The driver is always pleased with the output, so that the engine is not impaired by increasing power.

If you choose, these improvements will boost the driver experience or make the vehicle more efficient in a particular environment.

The best approach will also be to engage in this in a safe atmosphere such as a race circuit, where supervisors, coaches and paramedics are responsible for helping you get away from it.

If it is appropriate to change your car, do so with the requisite continuity and professionalism. Keep in mind that public transport is not a competition path – and consider yourself as an important contributor to road safety. Road health is more a way of thinking than an act or an action. Be mindful that irrespective of what modifications you might have for your car, you should note that there is still a chance of injury or death. Dream about security and come alive!

By Noni Nchwe