With the severe storms that plagued parts of South Africa as we neared the end of last year, we thought we would share some hints on what to do if you get caught in bad weather.
Before we start with the list, we need to stress that if you can avoid driving in such conditions, you should do so. Park your car undercover and wait out the storm. If that’s not possible and the storm strikes while you’re on the road, here are some things you should do.
Stuck in a Hail Storm?
If there’s hail, stay in your car. Hail can fall at high speeds and cause serious damage to your person if you’re in the hail.
Stop driving and pull over to a safe place. Driving at a certain speed against fast-hitting hail can worsen the effects. Stop under a bridge if you can. Remember to pull into a shoulder lane or onto the sidewalk, out of traffic’s way. Avoid ditches or areas where water can collect.
Lie down, away from the windows if possible. If a piece happens to break your car’s windshield or side window, you don’t want to get badly injured in the process. Make a habit of keeping a blanket in your car and cover yourself with this to further protect yourself from breaking glass.
Driving in the Rain?
Storms mean rain and rain makes the roads slippery. To ensure your safety and that of others, slow down and maintain a safe following distance between you and the car in front of you. While you can’t guarantee that other drivers will be responsible, you can feel good in knowing that you’re doing your part. You will also want to switch on your lights and hazards to make yourself more visible in heavy rainfall.
If you come across large puddles, don’t drive through them! There is no way of knowing what is in there. Perhaps a large pothole or road debris that can damage your wheels. What’s more, you might have no way of telling how deep these puddles are. If the water is deep enough, a rush of water could come over the car or engine bay, possibly resulting in water being sucked in the intake and cause your engine to seize.
If you remember, certain parts of Gauteng experienced such bad flash floods that it swept some cars along with it. So if you’re driving in heavy rain, get to higher ground, park your car and wait it out.
We would like to stress the importance of avoiding the urge to drive in stormy conditions. Getting somewhere at a specific time is not as important as your safety. Subscribe to a storm warning and leave earlier if you’re able.