Even though spring has finally arrived, it feels more like winter outside in many parts of South Africa. Weather forecasters are even predicting that it might rain today or tomorrow. Thus, drivers will not only deal with cold weather but the first rain of the season in some regions.
In case the predictions come to fruition, the managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, provides some tips on driving in this weather. The first rains can often be even more hazardous than wet weather in the middle of a rainy season because it lifts the oil and debris that collected over winter.
- Adjust your speed to suit the conditions, however, do not slow down unnecessarily as this is just as dangerous.
- Don’t brake harshly and suddenly, especially if you feel yourself start to skid.
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel throughout the trip.
- If you have not done so already, check your wiper blades to ensure that they have not weathered over winter.
- Give yourself more travel time so you do not have to rush in bad weather.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Turn on your headlights.
- Brake earlier and with more caution.
- Avoid water which has pooled on the roads.
- If you cannot avoid this, drive through it slowly in case there is hidden debris or potholes.
- Leave a larger following distance.
- Driving recklessly and speeding increases your chances of hydroplaning.
- If you hydroplane, slowly lift your foot from the accelerator but do not brake harshly or move your steering wheel violently.
- If you start to skid, look where you want to be. While this may seem counterintuitive, our instinct is to steer in the direction that we are looking. Thus, if there is tree in front of you, do not look at the tree, rather look at where you want to be.
- Consider going for driver training on a skidpan before the rainy season starts in earnest to learn how to react if you do lose control during rainy weather.
If it is raining in your region or looks like it is about to start, keep these tips in mind when you are on the roads.