Parts of Johannesburg recently experienced severe storms as well as flooding. More recently, Durban was lashed by such brutal storms that highways have turned into raging rivers, properties were destroyed and weather services warned people to stay indoors until the storm passed.
According to Masterdrive, this is what you should do to stay safe when caught in heavy downpours.
Driving in rain
Give yourself more travel time so you do not have to rush in bad weather
Adjust your speed to suit the conditions, however, do not slow down unnecessarily as this is just as dangerous
Driving recklessly increases chances of hydroplaning
Do not use cruise control and turn on your headlights
Brake earlier and with more caution
Leave more following room
Ensure there are no distractions in the vehicle before you leave
If you hydroplane, slowly lift your foot from the accelerator but do not brake harshly or move your steering wheel violently
Driving during floods
First and foremost, avoid low-lying bridges, areas prone to flash floods or large pools of water in the road wherever possible. If, however, you are unable to avoid one of these situations, this is the least that you should do.
Pools of water:
Estimate the depth of the water. Avoid driving through water which comes to the middle of your tyre. Even if you avoid being swept away you risk serious damage to your car
Most drivers risk driving through a pool of water but roads which collect water are more vulnerable to collapse and it is easy to underestimate their depth
Drive in the middle of a road where the water is at its lowest
Pass one car at a time, do not drive through water against oncoming vehicles
Never drive through fast flowing water.
It only takes 15 cm to touch the bottoms of most cars and consequently cause loss of control or stalling
Your car tyres will lift off the tar at 30cm of water where you can lose control or get washed away
Even 4X4s can be washed away in 60cm of water
Drive slowly and steadily through while in first or second gear or the lowest gear in automatic vehicles
Once you are through the water, lightly touch your brake a few times to dry them off.
If your car stalls and you are not in danger of being swept away, do not restart the car. Rather get a mechanic to check no water has made its way into the engine
When caught in an unexpected flash flood
If suddenly you start losing grip it might be because the car is starting to float.
Open the door to let some of the water in which will weigh the car down and allow the tyres to grip the road again
If you are in danger of being swept away abandon the vehicle if you have an opportunity to do so safely.
Be overcautious. Rather be safe than sorry.