Western Cape Mobility urges road users to be vigilant this winter

20 June 2024 | SANews

Between 2 and 9 June 2024, there have been 19 crashes reported on Western Cape roads. Wind, rain, flooding, and fog are key features of Western Cape winters and present unique challenges for all road users.

While we haul out our winter wardrobe and heat up our homes to combat inclement weather, we seldom take the time to prepare our vehicles and take precautions for overall safety on our roads. With the start of school holiday this weekend, the Western Cape Government urges all road users to heed the advice on vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist safety during winter.

When planning journeys over short or long distances during winter, motorists are particularly encouraged to check the condition of wiper blades, tyres, lights and the weather conditions before taking to the road.

“Tailgating, speeding and high beams are not only problematic in general, these driver behaviours present unique challenges in dark, wet and misty weather conditions on Western Cape roads. Winter driving can be unpredictable and demanding, requiring drivers to be extra vigilant and prepared for various challenges such as flooding and poor visibility,” commented Muneera Allie, Western Cape Mobility Department’s Head of Communication.

Winter driving preparedness and safety tips for motorists:

  • Check your wiper blades to ensure the windscreen can be cleaned effectively.
  • Check your tyres to ensure they have adequate tread for better traction on the road.
  • Check that your headlights, brake lights, and indicators are functioning properly.
  • Check that defrosters and heating equipment is in good working order.
  • Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Turn on your headlights to see and be seen in dark weather conditions. Avoid using high beams as they reflect off wet and foggy conditions and can temporarily blind other drivers.
  • Slow down when it rains.
  • Avoid sudden braking as this may cause your car to skid.
  • Avoid driving through deep puddles or flowing water if possible.
  • Be aware of other vehicles in the rear and blind spot areas, as it can be difficult to see through wet side windows and side mirrors.

Due to poor visibility, pedestrians and cyclists need to be extra cautious during winter. Tips for pedestrians and cyclists:

  • Wearing bright-coloured and reflective clothing is essential to improve visibility.
  • Avoid dark roads, particularly at night.
  • Put as much distance between the road and yourself where possible.
  • Use designated pedestrian crossings, pavements and cycle lanes, facing oncoming traffic where possible.

During stormy weather or heavy rains, avoid driving, walking or cycling if possible.

Provincial Traffic Officers conduct regular operations across the Western Cape and are on high alert over the dangerous and hazardous winter period. The Western Cape Government strongly encourages all road users to be vigilant and take the necessary precautions when out and about during winter. Let’s make this winter season safer for everyone.

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