Road hazards and how to avoid them

It’s no secret that many South African roads are worse for wear. It may be hazards that we’re used to, but bad roads are still incredibly dangerous. Now, the safest thing you can do while driving it to avoid speeding. This will give you time to see the danger and avoid it as best as possible. Let’s take a closer look at what to do in a dangerous situation.

Potholes

Roads that have a lot of heavy traffic such as buses and trucks are heavily affected by potholes, which seem to develop and grow by the day. When hitting a pothole, you cause serious damage to both your tyre and rim. Worst of all, hitting or suddenly avoiding potholes can lead to other accidents. 

What to do?

  • If there’s water on the road, drive carefully as you can’t always see where the potholes are.
  • At night, make sure you can see properly; if the road is clear of other drivers, drive with your lights on bright.
  • Don’t just slam on the brakes; you’ll intensify the damage and possibly have someone drive into you.
  • Keep the steering wheel steady to avoid losing control of the car.
  • Don’t suddenly swerve out of the way to avoid a pothole; this can lead to another accident or you to lose control of the car.

Flooding

Don’t even try your luck with flooded roads! Driving on a wet road can lead to aquaplaning (when the water causes a break between the wheels and the road) or to your car being swept away. Take the long way home or avoid the drive altogether.

What to do?

  • Always ensure your tyres are road worthy.
  • Do not switch on the cruise control.
  • When your car starts sliding, do not slam on the brakes or speed up; slowly reduce speed.
  • Avoid pools of water.
  • Slow down and increase your following distance.
  • Switch on your lights, and if you’re feeling uncomfortable, your hazard lights.

Gravel and sand

Debris on the road loosens the traction your tyres have on the road, causing you to slide. This is especially dangerous around corners and when you’re driving fast.

What to do?

  • Check that your tyres are road worthy.
  • Maintain control of the steering wheel.
  • Avoid swerving on the road.
  • Slow down at a steady pace.
  • Do not hit the brakes.
  • Do not accelerate while on the dirt in the road.

Animals

Animals will usually come out and cross the road at dusk and during the night when the roads are quieter.

What to do?

  • Drive slower during “quieter and darker” times than you normally would.
  • If there’s a safe following distance between you and the other cars, drive with your headlights on bright.
  • Don’t swerve. You can lose control of the car and cause a bigger accident.
  • Brake, hoot and flash your lights to try and scare the animal away.

Fatigue

Driving tired is just as bad as driving drunk. Avoid it. Your reactions are slower, and you might even fall asleep at the wheel.

What to do?

  • If you’re driving long distances, stop regularly or, better yet, take turns with someone else in the car.
  • Before starting your journey, make sure you get enough sleep. It might take longer to get to the beach, but everyone will be safe.
  • Drink water – it will keep you hydrated and force you to stop.
  • When stopping for a bite to eat, don’t overload on carbs (it’ll make you tired); rather eat a lighter meal.

Wherever you’re driving, know that Netstar is here to keep you safe and sound. Speak to us about how we can assist you – call 0860 12 24 36 or visit www.netstar.co.za

Information sources: Women on Wheels and Budget Direct