Advice for driving in heavy rain and floods

I have never experienced the kind of storms and flash flood that we have had over the past week in Gauteng.  The resultant flash floods moved from "we need the water" to "what's going on now?". It was a scary sight to behold, seeing people trapped in the rising flood waters.

And with the flash floods rising so did the number of insurance claims.  Standard Insurance Limited said in a report that it had nearly 600 claims for damage to cars, buildings and homes.

Denise Shaw, COO for Standard Insurance Limited said  many insurance companies issue SMS or electronic warnings to clients about potential storms and hail. “These notifications should be taken seriously and steps should be taken to secure homes and park cars under cover.”

For motorists who are caught unaware whilst driving,  the company shared these cautionary steps:

- Try to avoid being on the road, but if you are, drive slowly and carefully.

- Reduce speed to match the road conditions and increase following distance to at least three-cars distance.

- Turn headlights on so that you can be seen by other vehicles.

- If you can, pull off the road safely and activate your car’s hazard lights as a warning to other motorists.

- Do not park under trees ad there is a risk of falling branches and debris.

- Be proactive and ensure that windscreen wipers are always in good condition so that they can cope with sudden downpours.

- Never get out of your vehicle, because of possible injury from hailstones.

- Do not attempt to drive through water washing across the road, or across low water bridges. Your car could stall in the water and it requires only about 15cm of rapidly moving water to wash a car away.

Additional steps that the public can take to avoid damage to homes and property when storms strike include:

- If possible, make sure computers, TV’s, decoders and other equipment is disconnected from wall sockets to avoid damage caused by electricity surges caused by lightning strikes

- Check that roofs do not have broken or loose tiles that allow the entry of water during heavy downpours.

- Ensure that roof gutters are clean and unclogged, so that water does not accumulate and seep through roof tiles onto ceilings.

- Keeping house windows shut, so reducing the chance of them being hit by hail or shattered by high winds.

Ms Shaw encouraged the customers with claims arising from this week’s storms to submit their claims as soon as they can.

According to numerous reports the storms are set to continue into the weekend. Make sure you are protected.