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Severe storms lash SA: Your wet-weather driving guide

2017-10-10 09:54

Image: Twitter / Arrive Alive

Johannesburg - Severe storms have lashed South Africa with heavy rains and strong winds as well as hail causing chaos in large parts of Gauteng. 

News24 reported on Monday (October 9) that severe thunderstorms had hit various parts of the country on Monday. Several homes and buildings were destroyed and many roads flooded. 

Road crashes during the bad weather conditions killed at least three people.

READ: At least 3 dead, 18 injured during severe storms

With storms set to continue to affect South Africa, we've included some important tips for driving in wet weather.

Tips by Automobile Association

Important vehicle checks for driving in wet conditions: list by Europ Assistance 

1 Tyre tread: 

Image: iStock

One of the most important checks motorists can conduct is the condition of their motor vehicle’s tyres. A tyre tread below the legal limit of 1mm, or level with the tyre treat depth indicator, significantly increases the likelihood of an accident occurring - especially in wet weather. This could also result in an insurance claim being rejected should the insurer determine that the cause of an accident was a direct result of poor tyre maintenance. 

2 Visibility factors: 

Image: iStock

When driving in wet, rainy or misty conditions, good visibility is paramount. Something as simple as replacing worn windscreen wiper blades can drastically reduce the chances of an accident occurring. Good wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Wiper blades that leave streaks or miss spots are worn and need to be replaced.  

Car lights should also be in proper working order at all times, but the lights are especially important during the winter months, as it is the only means to increase a vehicle’s visibility on dark roads. Any burnt out or dim light bulbs should be replaced immediately.

3 Car battery strength:

Image: iStock

One of the most common causes of motor vehicle breakdowns in winter is a weak battery. Due to the colder weather conditions, a vehicle’s engine requires more battery power to start-up. Motorists should check the strength of the car battery on a regular basis and replace it if necessary in an effort to avoid the inconvenience of an unplanned breakdown.

4 Brakes:

Image: iStock

One of the most important components of a motor vehicle is the functionality of its brakes. Have the brakes checked by a motor mechanic for any wear and tear to ensure that the vehicle has the best chance of stopping in wet or icy conditions. When a road is wet and slippery, it takes the vehicle somewhat longer to come to a complete stop – which is critical in avoiding a potential collision. Motorists should listening out for any metal-to-metal or squeaking sounds when applying the brakes and if the brakes do make these sounds, they need to be replaced as soon as possible.

5 Emergency driver assistance:

Image: iStock

South Africans need to ensure that they have emergency driver assistance in place and have emergency numbers on hand in case of an accident or breakdown – especially as rainy weather increases motorists’ chances of incidents. These type of services may already be in place through existing providers (e.g. as a value-added benefit with an insurance policies), or through banks or medical aid – so consumers are advised to review their policies or consult their providers.


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