Rain fell for most of the Easter weekend for many people across South Africa. Certain areas have struggled with flooding and increased car crashes as a result. On Tuesday morning (23 April), people had to be evacuated from Port St Johns as a result of heavy rainfall. As many people return to work and, some return from a weekend away, here are some tips to stay safe on the wet roads.
- People driving too slowly: while slowing down in rainy weather is important, some drivers may take this to the extreme. Looking ahead by up to 12 seconds (where visibility permits) will enable you to quickly see these drivers and move around them where possible. If you cannot safely move around, maintain a larger following distance and patiently wait for an opportunity to do so.
- People driving too fast: do additional checks in your review mirror so that you see a fast driver long before they are right up behind you. If you are on the highway, only use the right-hand lane for passing, and avoid sitting in that lane where you are most likely to encounter reckless drivers.
- Traffic lights not working: this is common with large amounts of rain. Traffic lights are to be treated like four way stops but with even more caution. In larger intersections many drivers are uncertain of when to go or even reluctant to wait their turn. Never take it for granted that a driver will stop when they are supposed to.
- Flooding: avoid areas that are prone to flooding and keep an eye on traffic reports. If you do come across a section of road where there is fast flowing water rather turn around or pull over if you can safely do so. It only takes 15cm of water to lift some cars off the tar.
- Hydroplaning and skidding: if you start to hydroplane slowly take your foot off the accelerator and concentrate on steering straight. Never brake. Gently steer in the direction you do want to go until you regain control.
- Be patient: do not let reckless or impatient drivers take your attention away from the road. Rather accept that these drivers are inevitable and rather focus your attention on getting to your destination safely.