Harsh weather in Western Cape

A level two and six weather warning was issued in the Western Cape warning of disruptive weather conditions. Heavy downpours, damage to infrastructure, disruption to essential services, possible mudslides and rockfalls, high risk when crossing fast-flowing streams and gale force winds are all affecting drivers today.

If you are unable to stay home, MasterDrive provides the following tips to remain as safe as possible on the roads.

Driving in heavy rainfall

  • Turn on your headlights if they are not already on.
  • Leave larger following distances so there is more time to respond if something goes wrong.
  • Reduced speed is the best way to reduce the chances of aquaplaning.
  • If you aquaplane, slowly lift your foot from the accelerator but do not brake harshly or move your steering wheel violently.
  • If you start to skid, don’t slam on the brakes. Steering in the direction you want to go and do not make any harsh adjustments.

Pools of water

  • Avoid driving through water which comes to the middle of your tyre or higher - be extremely cautious as it is easy to underestimate the depth.
  • Roads that collect water are more vulnerable to collapse and potholes.
  • Where possible, drive in the middle of a road where the water is at its lowest.

Fast-flowing water

  • Never drive through fast flowing water - even trucks can be swept away in the right circumstances
  • If caught in fast-flowing water unexpectedly, drive slowly and steadily through while in first or second gear in manual vehicles.
  • If you stall and you are not in danger of being swept away, do not restart your car. Rather get a mechanic to check that no water has made its way into the engine.

Flash floods

  • Be overcautious and never drive on roads already flooded
  • If you do feel your car losing grip with the road, open the door to let some of the water in which might help to 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.

Gale force winds

  • Be cautious in areas that are particularly exposed or dangerous in high winds such as open stretches of roads, tunnels through mountainous areas or roads that run under powerlines.
  • Avoid crossing high, exposed bridges
  • Be alert for debris or larger items that may have blown into the road
  • Be cautious of vehicles that are towing as they are susceptible to cross winds
  • Avoid overtaking trucks and larger vehicles