Be vigilant, motorists and homeowners have been warned as heavy downpours and flooding continue over the north-eastern parts of South Africa.
The cold and rainy conditions are set to affect the eastern parts of the country including Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Below are tips for South Africans from insurer Santam on how they can handle the harsh weather when on the road or at home.
Precautions for motorists
- Avoid areas and traffic routes where flooding has been reported.
- Monitor local weather and traffic reports and plan your route accordingly to avoid areas where severe weather is expected.
- When driving in rainy conditions reduce your speed and increase the following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Be alert and aware of the road conditions on your travel route.
- During times of poor visibility, be aware of all of the vehicles that are around you.
- Your headlights need to be switched on at all times.
- Obey the rules of the road, especially any temporary signage or hazard warnings around flooded or damaged roads.
- Avoid braking suddenly as this could cause your vehicle to skid or hydroplane.
- Make sure that your windscreen wiper blades and brake pads are in good condition.
Precautions for homeowners
Measures homeowners can take if water levels rise:
- Clearing gutters and drains regularly will prevent the build up of water and reduce potential flooding.
- If your home is on a slope, ensure that the water outflow is unrestricted. Speak to your neighbour if water has to pass through their yard.
- Move furniture, electronic equipment and valuables off the floor.
In the event of flooding:
- Switch off electricity at the main distribution board.
- When using sandbags, ensure that cloth is installed between the layers. The cloth becomes saturated and forms a more water tight insulation in between the bags, stopping the flow of water.
Steps to avoid damage from flood water in the future
- Ensure that the electrical points, plugs, fixed heaters and wiring are at least 300mm above expected flood levels.
- Observe where the water accumulates and flows on your property and, if possible, place drainage grids at the catchment points with better and deeper drainage ports.
- Homeowners who have large, flat gardens with attenuation problems can install a perforated 110mm pipe. The pipe will allow for easy absorption and is a cost effective method.