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Driving in wet weather is a time to be cautious and patient

Many parts of South Africa are experiencing extreme weather conditions. Storms, flooding and tornadoes have caused damage to property and crops. This, despite much of South Africa, is in the grip of a drought. No matter how experienced you are, driving in wet weather is a time to be cautious and patient. During this time, try to stay off the road when it’s wet. If driving is unavoidable, take care to ensure you don’t become a statistic.
 
West Rand Panel Beaters offers motorists the following tips when traveling in wet weather:

* Cruise control

 
Cruise control is designed to maintain a certain speed. If you hit a puddle the cruise control may induce aquaplaning. Very dangerous so try avoid at all costs.
 

* Flooded areas

 
Never underestimate the danger of floodwaters. Flooding can wash away the entire road surface. Water can hide dips in the road. If water gets sucked into the engine, your vehicle will shut off and you will be stuck.
 

* Slow down

 
When the roads are wet, the tar is slippery. Reduce your speed and double the distance between you and the car in front. And remember that speed limits posted on road signs are only suitable for ideal conditions. They should not be adhered to in poor weather conditions.
 

* Visibility

 
A sudden downpour can quickly affect your visibility. Drive in lanes without vehicles obstructing your vision. Or follow a vehicle of a similar size so you can see through their back and front windscreens, to the road ahead of them. Avoid following large trucks that obstruct your vision.
 

* Puddle of water

 
A puddle of water can hide a deep pothole, a manhole, or even a sinkhole. At certain speeds, your vehicle can aquaplane, lifting off the ground. But what to do if your vehicle does start to aquaplane? Smoothly and lightly slow down until you have regained control. Avoid abrupt and excessive steering, heavy braking, or taking corners too quickly.
 

* Unforeseen obstacles

 
Road hazards include rocks and branches, pedestrians, farm animals, and vehicle accidents. Drive slowly to avoid such objects. By driving slowly you are able to detect, react, and come to a complete stop before coming into contact with the hazard.
 
The AA has some great tips for driving in heavy wet weather conditions including tips from their AA Rescue team for driving in flooded areas.. Driving-tests.org suggest the following tips:
  • Wait Until the Weather Improves if Possible
  • Double Check Your Car’s Equipment
  • Slow Down
  • Turn On Your Headlights
  • Use Your Windshield Wipers
  • Maintain a Safe Distance Between Cars
  • Avoid Heavy Braking
  • Watch Out For Standing Water
  • Let Off The Gas When Hydroplaning
  • Ventilate Your Car
 
But whatever advice you receive, remember that it’s all about safety first. Rather avoid being in difficult situations upfront. And wherever you are traveling to this festive season, please look after your precious cargo as accidents can happen in an instant.