Safety tips when driv­ing in heavy rain

The Herald (South Africa) - - WORLD OF WHEELS -

WITH parts of South Africa ex­pe­ri­enc­ing se­vere storms and flood­ing this week, here are some point­ers from ad­vanced driver train­ing com­pany MasterDrive on how 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, but 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; and

If you hy­droplane, slowly lift your foot from the ac­cel­er­a­tor but do not brake harshly or move your steer­ing wheel vi­o­lently.

When driv­ing in a flood sit­u­a­tion, avoid low-ly­ing bridges, ar­eas prone to flash floods or large pools of water in the road, wher­ever pos­si­ble. POOLS OF WATER:

Avoid driv­ing through water which comes to the mid­dle of your tyre;

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; and

Pass one car at a time and do not drive through water against on­com­ing ve­hi­cles. FAST-FLOW­ING WATER: Never drive through fast-flow­ing water; It only takes 15cm to touch the bot­toms of most cars and cause loss of con­trol or stalling;

Your 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; and

Once you are through the water, lightly touch your brakes a few times to dry them off. WHEN CAUGHT IN A 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;

If you are in dan­ger of be­ing swept away aban­don the ve­hi­cle if you can; and

Be over­cau­tious: rather be safe than sorry.

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