Over the last few weeks, South Africa has been hit with severe rainfalls that have caused flooding and widespread property damage.
Moreover, with winter fast approaching and weather patterns constantly changing, Attie Blaauw, the head of personal lines underwriting at Santam, said that those living in areas prone to extreme atmospheric conditions should take precautions.
“There are steps that can be taken to lower risks associated with property or personal injuries during these extreme weather events. These extreme weather conditions have destroyed economies, lives and livelihoods. Importantly South Africans need to be careful and exercise extreme vigilance in the wake of the severe weather conditions that may inflict the country,” said Blaauw.
Firstly, when it comes to driving through a downpour, try and avoid areas prone to flooding if possible.
Furthermore, drivers should listen to the radio for regular weather and traffic updates. Drivers should also reduce their speed in racing conditions and increase their following distance.
Drivers are advised to follow other road safety tips, including having headlights switched on (not on bright), being alert of their surroundings and obeying the rules of the road.
If a driver finds themselves in deep water, they should stay calm and alert.
People should avoid driving through large sections of water if they cannot see the road, as it is dangerous. It is also dangerous to drive past barricades as they are there for safety.
Blaauw said that people should exit their vehicle if it is stuck in rising water and search for higher ground, as their safety is more important than the vehicle.
When it comes to hail, he said that drivers should use a GPS or Maps app to find parking facilities nearby, like a mall.
They should also cover their car in thick fleecy blankets or potentially invest in a low-cost carport. He added that people should ensure that their car is insured for hail cover.
In terms of protecting their house, South Africans should clear their gutter of debris so that there is no overflow which has the potential for internal water damage. South Africans are also advised to regularly maintain their roofs.
They are also advised to keep tresses and shrubs trimmed t ensure that no branch or debris damages a home. Outdoor furniture should also be secured or under cover.
Like a vehicle, South Africans are advised to check if their home’s contents are properly insured.