Motorists across South African are in for a weekend of weather driving challenges. Irrespective of province, analysts predict freezing temperatures, heavy downpour and strong winds. Here are some tips (which apply to all types of weather scenarios):
Frost and ice
- If the roads are icy, drive with extra caution; increase your following distances, slow down and brake cautiously.
- Top up your anti-freeze now and check your tyres are properly inflated
- Do not use cruise control on slippery roads
- Be cautious in places where ice and frozen roads are common even if you cannot see it, like under bridges
- If you lose control do not panic but gradually slow down and steer in the direction of the skid, do not slam on your brakes.
This is created when sleet or rain hits the ground and freezes and is very dangerous for drivers
- Be alert for black ice: it looks like glossy, slightly wet patches on the road
- Do not hit the brakes rather lift your foot off the accelerator
- Focus on keeping the steering straight
- Be careful of over-steering
Heavy downpours of rain
- Avoid water that has pooled on the roads
- If you cannot avoid it, drive around it as much as possible and go slowly in case of hidden debris or potholes
- If you hydroplane, slowly lift your foot from the accelerator but do not brake harshly or move your steering wheel violently
- Be cautious in areas that are exposed or dangerous in high winds such as open stretches of roads, tunnels through mountainous areas
- Never drive over a downed powerline
- Avoid crossing high, exposed bridges
- Look out for road signage warning drivers of areas vulnerable to strong winds
- Be alert for debris or larger items that could be blown into the road
- Avoid overtaking trucks and larger vehicles
Whatever weather condition you encounter this weekend, be prepared as many motorists cannot avoid driving despite the unpleasant conditions.