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Extreme weather conditions: What homeowners and motorists can do to protect themselves

Due to the extreme weather conditions and heavy rain being experienced across the country homeowners and motorists need to exercise vigilance. Picture: Pixabay

Due to the extreme weather conditions and heavy rain being experienced across the country homeowners and motorists need to exercise vigilance. Picture: Pixabay

Published Apr 12, 2022

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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.

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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

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  • 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.

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