South Africa's weather patterns changed unexpectedly precisely a week before Easter in April 2022. The incessantly heavy rains and accompanying bitter cold are unprecedented. KwaZulu-Natal has been hardest hit with as many as 60 lives (and counting) having been lost due to floods. A grandmother driving with her three grandkids was swept away. The situation could be dire for motorists as many people will be travelling far and wide for the Easter holidays. The heavy rains have caused flooded and mud-filled roads. Thus motorists need to be extra careful when traversing such terrains as accidents can occur. Here are some tips on how to drive through flooded roads and mud:


Drive Slowly


When the roads are wet, it is advisable to drive slowly. Fast speeds can cause the car to skid and lose control. Driving slowly gives you more time to react if the car does start to slip. It also allows for a greater margin of error. If you are driving too fast, even a small mistake can result in a serious accident. So, when the roads are wet, take it easy and drive at a safe speed. Your fellow drivers will appreciate it, and you'll arrive at your destination safe and sound.


Avoid Puddles


Every driver knows the feeling of hitting a puddle and sending a splash of dirty water up onto the windshield. It's annoying, but it's also avoidable. Puddles can hide potholes, which can damage your car. If you must drive through a puddle, go slowly to avoid splashing water on pedestrians or other cars. If you can't see the bottom of the puddle, it's best to avoid it altogether. No one likes a muddy car, and no one likes being splashed by a passing car.


Don't Stop in the Middle of a Flooded Road


If you come to a flooded road, don't stop in the middle of it. If your car stalls, you'll be stranded in the middle of the flood with no way to get out. If the water is flowing, it can sweep your car away. If the water is deep, you could be at risk of drowning. If you must cross a flooded road, go as quickly as possible.


Don't Drive Around Road Barricades


If you come across a road barricade, don't be tempted to drive around it. The barricade is there for a reason, and driving around it can be extremely dangerous. If the road is closed, find another route. Driving around a barricade is not only illegal, but it's also dangerous. You could get stranded or end up in an accident. So play it safe and follow the signs. Your life could depend on it.


Don't Drive Through Mud


Mud can be a real pain to deal with. It can be difficult to drive through, and it can make a mess of your car. However, mud can also be dangerous. If you drive too fast through mud, you could easily lose control of your car. You might even get stuck. That's why it's best to avoid driving through the mud if possible. If you must drive through it, go slowly and be prepared to get your car dirty. And, of course, always be on the lookout for puddles of water that could hide a deep puddle of mud beneath the surface.


What to Do If You Break Down In The Rain


If you break down in the rain, don't panic. Stay calm and try to get your car to the side of the road. Once you're off the road, turn on your hazard lights. This will warn other drivers of your presence and help them avoid hitting your car. If possible, call for help and wait inside your car for assistance. If you must get out of the car, be careful. Wet roads can be slippery, and you don't want to slip and fall.


How to Prepare for Driving in Heavy Rain


The best way to deal with heavy rains is to avoid them altogether. If you know a storm is coming, try to stay off the roads. If you must be on the road, make sure you're prepared.


  • Check your tyres and make sure they have enough tread. The good tread will help your car grip the road and avoid hydroplaning.
  • You should also make sure your windscreen wipers are in good condition. Worn-out wipers won't do a good job of clearing away the rain, and you could end up with an obscured view of the road.

Of course, no matter how well you prepare, there's always a chance you'll run into trouble on the road. If you do, stay calm and follow the tips in this article.


Practical Tips for When Your Car Gets Stuck in Mud


If you get stuck in the mud, don't panic. Stay calm and follow these tips:


  • First, try to drive out of the mud. If your wheels are spinning but you're not going anywhere, it's time to stop. Driving further will only make things worse.
  • Next, try rocking your car back and forth. This might help you get out of the mud.
  • If rocking your car doesn't work, try using a shovel to dig out the mud around your tyres. Once you've cleared away some of the mud, you might be able to drive out.
  • If all else fails, call for help. Don't try to walk out of the mud - you could end up getting stuck yourself.


Remember, if you can avoid driving in heavy rain, do so. It's always better to be safe than sorry.


And...Technically Speaking


According to car manufacturer Ford South Africa, even the most skilled driver may be found wanting when driving through a flood or on a muddy [gravel] road. They say some technical aspects of the vehicle can help the driver successfully negotiate these treacherous weather conditions. FordSA suggests that if you have to drive through a flood, then do so in a four-wheel-drive vehicle because it is designed to negotiate even the trickiest circumstances and environments.


Regardless of a driver’s need to get to safety, trying to drive at a great speed through a flooded area is foolhardy. Slow and steady will do a better job at it. Ease off your foot on the throttle and do not suddenly accelerate. Let your car’s capabilities pull you out of the water. Resist the urge to burst out of the water to the other side as you risk bumping into submerged objects with undue force or creating issues for yourself.


Before you continue on your journey, it's important to make sure that your car is in good working condition. Floodwater can damage many of a car's vital systems, so it's essential to perform a few simple tests to ensure your safety. Press the brake pedal lightly to check if the brakes are functioning properly. If they're not, give them some time to dry off before trying again. Then, check that the hooter works and that the headlamps and brake lights are both working. Finally, check that the power steering is working smoothly and requires no additional effort to turn. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure a safe and successful journey.


After you've driven through a puddle, river, or any other body of water, it's important to give your vehicle a good wash. This will help to remove any debris or sediment that might have gotten lodged in your car, and will also help to prevent rust and corrosion. It's also a good idea to get your vehicle inspected by a professional after driving through water. They can check for any damage that might not be immediately obvious, and can also give your car a thorough cleaning. Remember, safety is always the number one priority - only cross deep floods and low-lying bridges if it is absolutely necessary.


Stay Safe on Flooded Roads and Mud


Now that you know how to stay safe on flooded roads and mud, please share this information with your loved ones. Lives can be saved by following these simple tips. And if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, remember to remain calm and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family.