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SA motorists need to 'prepare for cold snap' - warns AA

2017-08-16 09:02

Image: iStock

Johannesburg - The South African Weather Service is predicting  cold and wet weather, as well as snow in certain parts from Wednesday (August 16).
The Weather Service says temperatures could plummet to as low as 5 degrees Celsius in parts, with rain and snow possibly leading to the closure of some mountain passes and roads. 
The Automobile Association (AA) advises all motorists to monitor the weather, especially if they are planning a longer trip and to adjust their travel plans accordingly.

Cold snap hits as six SA towns see 0°C or lower

The AA warns:"Many people regard the prospect of snow as an opportunity to experience an adventure with their families. But things can wrong very quickly in such circumstances, particularly if drivers are unfamiliar with how to drive in these conditions. We therefore advise motorists to steer clear of these areas unless there is a compelling reason why they should be travelling there." 
Motorists caught in bad weather or stranded due to road closures, must "remain calm, and not attempt to get around the delays by taking unnecessary risks," says the AA.

The AA says: "If you are planning on a longer trip through areas which have been identified as possible 'cold' spots, take extra blankets, water, and perhaps even food in your vehicle in case you are stuck for an indeterminate period. Also make sure your cellphone is charged, in case you need to call for help. However, our most important piece of advice is to avoid travelling on these routes if you can." 
The AA adds that in areas where there won’t be snow or rain, temperatures are also expected to drop significantly. Motorists must ensure items such as their air-condition systems, windscreen wipers, and defoggers are working properly. 

The huge storm that battered the Western Cape earlier in 2017:

"Only a short cold snap is being predicted, but a vehicle that isn’t properly geared to deal with the cold, can become problematic even in the shortest period so ensure you, and your vehicle, are well prepared before heading out," the AA concludes.

Tips by Automobile Association

13 tips for driving in the rain:
1 Always turn on your vehicle’s headlights in wet weather. 
2 In heavy rain use the brighter (rear fog lights) setting for your car’s tail lights. 
3 Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition and do a clean sweep. 
4 Do not allow the inside of your car's windows to mist up. Switch on front and rear screen demisters and your aircon - yes, an aircon dries the air and removes mist almost instantly.
5 Check your tyre tread: the legal minimum is 1mm but for safety's sake make sure it's treble that.
6 Worn shock-absorbers don't keep the rubber hard down on the road; no road contact = no ABS, no grip and very little braking.
7 Cloudy and rain = poor visibility. Take extra care when overtaking - and remember not all drivers coming towards you will have their headlights on.
8 Adjust speed and following distance; at least six seconds to the car ahead. Ensure you can stop within the visible area ahead. 
9 Avoid abrupt acceleration, braking and steering which can result in a skid.
10 Don't drive through deep water. It could damage your car and possibly cost you your life.
11 If you have no option but to drive through such water, then drive slowly in a low gear, holding the steering wheel steady.
12 After driving in heavy rain allow your brakes to dry - especially if your vehicle has drum brakes. 
13 If you experience car/bike trouble turn on your hazard lights and try to move completely off the road. If possible, ensure that you have a reflective warning triangle to erect some distance behind your vehicle.

Read more on:    aa  |  south africa  |  driving  |  driving tips  |  traffic  |  road safety

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