Be careful when driving in these conditions

With heavy rainfall over large parts of the country, it is important take note of safety measures when driving in wet conditions.

Pexels genaro servín 763398 heavy rainfall

Parts of Gauteng and the surrounding areas experienced heavy rainfall recently, which resulted in flooding. Roads were closed, yet some motorists were still caught in difficult or dangerous driving conditions. Should you find yourself on the roads encountering heavy rainfall, follow certain tips to emerge safely from this challenging situation.

Primarily, avoid low-lying bridges, areas prone to flash floods or large pools of water in the road wherever possible. If, however, you are unable to avoid one of these situations, this is what the CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says drivers should do.

  • Driving in rain

Turn on your headlights, if they are not already on.

Adjust your speed to conditions. This includes reducing your speed if other vehicles have reduced their speed.

Leave larger following distances so that you have more time to respond if something goes wrong.

Give yourself more time to stop or to go around corners.

Aquaplaning is one of the biggest risks in rainy weather. Reduced speed is the best way to lessen the chances of this occurring.

If this happens, slowly lift your foot from the accelerator but do not brake harshly or move your steering wheel violently.

If you start skidding, do not slam on the brakes. Continue steering in the direction you want to go and do not make any harsh adjustments.

If the downpour becomes extreme and there is a petrol station or some other safe place to pull over, rather do this.

  • Pools of water:

Estimate the depth of the water. Avoid driving through water that reaches to the middle of your tyre or higher.

Most drivers risk driving through a pool of water, but it is easy to underestimate its depth. Additionally, roads that collect water are more vulnerable to collapse and form potholes.

Where possible, drive in the middle of a road where the water is at its lowest.

Be prepared for off-spray from passing cars, which can be blinding.

  • Fast-flowing water

Never drive through fast flowing water; it is exceedingly difficult to judge its depth.

Even trucks can be swept away in the right circumstances.

If you are caught unexpectedly in fast-flowing water, drive slowly and steadily through it while in first or second gear.

Once you are through the water, lightly touch your brake a few times to dry them.

If you stall and you are not in danger of being swept away, do not restart your car. Rather get a mechanic to check that no water has made its way into the engine.

  • When caught in an unexpected flash flood

If you do feel your car losing grip with the road, open the door to let some of the water in which might help to weigh the car down and allow the tyres to grip the road again.

If you are in danger of being swept away, abandon the vehicle if you have an opportunity to do so safely.

Be overcautious. Rather be safe than sorry.

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