First aid

25 April 2007

Winter road safety

It's winter and the roads are wet. Rainy weather can create problems when driving - reduced visibility, hydroplaning, skids - that can lead to serious accidents.

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It's winter and the roads are wet, especially in the Western Cape. Rainy weather can create problems when driving - reduced visibility, hydroplaning, skids - that can lead to serious accidents.

Here are some rainy weather driving tips from the St Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana, USA:

  • Remember the stopping ability of a vehicle is reduced on slick pavement. On wet roads, you need to reduce your speed accordingly and ensure that you maintain at least 50 percent more following distance from the car ahead of you.
  • Maintain smooth, even acceleration on wet roads. Sudden braking can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. The same thing can happen if you take your foot off the accelerator too quickly.
  • Be aware of the threat of hydroplaning. That occurs when water puddles on the road are deeper than the depth of tread on your tires, causing the tires to lose contact with the road. If you feel your car start to hydroplane, DO NOT apply your brakes. Hard braking may cause your car to skid out of control. You should ease back on the accelerator until your tires restore contact with the road.
  • When stopping your vehicle on slippery pavement, pump your brakes lightly and hold your steering wheel firmly.
  • Keep in mind that wet weather causes brakes to become damp, reducing their effectiveness. You can keep your brakes dry by lightly riding the brake pedal for several seconds at regular intervals while you drive. The heat produced by the light braking will help keep the brakes dry.
  • Stay especially alert while driving in poor weather.

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