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South Africa's hazardous road conditions

We’ve all come across some pretty shocking road conditions while driving in South Africa and in some cases extreme caution and defensive driving skills are required to avoid potential hazards. From flooding roads, to potholes caused by heavy rainfall, to loose gravel and rocks, these obstacles can pose a serious threat to your car and those in it. Here are some […]

We’ve all come across some pretty shocking road conditions while driving in South Africa and in some cases extreme caution and defensive driving skills are required to avoid potential hazards.

From flooding roads, to potholes caused by heavy rainfall, to loose gravel and rocks, these obstacles can pose a serious threat to your car and those in it.

Here are some ways to deal with potential road hazards, from the AA:

Potholes

The AA reported that according to Arrive Alive, poor road conditions are costing the economy billions annually, not to mention the costs incurred by motorists. When hitting a pothole, the most common damage is to tyres and rims, both critical to the safety of your vehicle.

How to deal with potholes

  • Be extra careful when there is water on the road as it might be covering a pothole
  • If you drive over a pothole, don’t slam on brakes as this could compound the damage to your
  • Vehicle, or cause an accident
  • Hold the steering wheel firmly when driving over a pothole to avoid losing control of the vehicle
  • If driving at night, ensure your headlights are clean as potholes are harder to identify in the dark
  • Do not swerve if you hit a hole as this could endanger other motorists

Water

Water on the road surface can cause aquaplaning, which occurs when all four of the vehicle’s tyres lose traction and the car is lifted off the road surface and onto a cushion of water.

How to deal with water

  • Ensure that the vehicle’s tyres are properly inflated, according to the manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Slow down in wet conditions and don’t drive through pools of water or puddles
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in wet conditions
  • Avoid the temptation to slam on brakes if the vehicle starts skidding or sliding, but don’t accelerate either

Loose gravel and rocks

Roadworks, degrading of the road surface, or spills from trucks or trailers, could cause loose gravel and rocks on the road. Gravel acts like marbles under the wheels of the vehicle, causing them to lose traction and skid. This is particularly dangerous when cornering as it could cause the vehicle to fishtail and potentially spin out of control. Of course, loose rocks on the road can also damage windscreens, headlights and paintwork.

How to deal with gravel and loose rocks

  • Maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel
  • If possible, try not to swerve or weave on the road
  • Slow down
  • Don’t accelerate over the gravel or stones as this will cause the wheels to spin and lose traction
  • Don’t slam on the brakes

Conclusion

In most potentially hazardous situations, reducing speed can be a lifesaver. Learn to read the road and identify pitfalls in advance. This will give you the opportunity to avoid them rather than have to take last-minute evasive action. Where road safety is concerned, prevention is always better than cure.

Did you know that you can claim for pothole damage? Find out how here.

Source: AA

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