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25 July 2011

Warning to Motorists: Sleet, snow and rain makes driving very dangerous in parts of the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal

With the possibility of further snow, rain and sleet motorists are urged to use extra caution when traveling on roadways during hazardous weather conditions and stay off the roads whenever possible.

During winter weather conditions, motorists should drive slowly and carefully, and avoid driving while distracted. Always allow for extra driving time, reduce speeds when visibility is low, and make sure there is plenty of room between vehicles. Also, look out for black ice, which can form on bridges, overpasses, off-ramps and in shady spots. As always, the SAWDIS reminds motorists to buckle up and refrain from drinking and driving.

Rain, hail, sleet and snow make driving a vehicle a challenge and extra concentration is always needed. Even the lightest of showers can make road conditions slippery, particularly when mixed with oil and other substances that have accumulated on the road way over time. Rain, hail, sleet and snow also affect visibility when driving and can result in additional hazards like localised flooding or debris on the roadway. Motorists driving in wet or snowy conditions are urged to remember the following.

  • Slow down in wet weather. The posted speed limits are the maximum speed with good conditions so if conditions are hazardous drivers should always reduce their speed accordingly.
  • Increase your braking distance and leave ample room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Turn on your headlights to increase visibility.
  • Ensure your windscreen wipers are working effectively and your vehicle is mechanically sound. Make sure your tyres have ample tread and are inflated to the required level.
  • Exercise patience. With wet weather there will inevitably be increased volume of traffic on the road due to those who generally walk or ride a bike using their vehicle instead.
  • Allow extra time to travel to your destination.
  • Apply your brakes in a steady and controlled manner. Braking hard and suddenly in wet weather can cause you to loose control.
  • Do not accelerate quickly after stopping. Apply gentle pressure to your accelerator to avoid skidding.
  • Unless you are fully aware of the water depth, flow and any road damage or impediment, do not attempt to cross a flooded road, bridge or causeway. Never ignore a warning sign.
  • If heavy rain, hail, sleet or snow make driving too difficult pull over safely to the side of the road and wait until conditions ease.
  • Always heed advice about avoiding roads which may be affected by snow, debris, mud, flooding or a motor vehicle collision.
  • Fit snow chains where required.
The SAWDIS would advise motorists to stay off snow covered  roads whenever possible for tonight and early tomorrow morning.