Volunteers have had to suspend their search for missing Brenda Scriven who disappeared after her vehicle was washed away in ongoing flash floods that are hitting Durban. The downpours aren’t over yet, so here are 5 vital things you need to know when driving in hard rain with the risk of floods:
- The worst decision you can make in a flash flood is driving your vehicle into waters of unknown depth, and depth is easy to misjudge. If visibility is low, you may not be able to see whether the road or bridge beneath the water has been washed away. Rather turn around.
- Just 16cm of water will reach the bottom of most cars, causing potential stalling and loss of control. One foot of water can float a passenger vehicle, and two feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles, including bakkies and SUVs. Once a vehicle is floating, your steering wheel is useless – the floodwater becomes the steering wheel. Moving water can tip, flip or sweep a car away.
- Be aware of flood warnings and check traffic reports about your route during heavy rains. Turn around and find higher ground – don’t try to guess the depth of floodwaters.
- Park uphill or on the pavement, instead of at the waterline, or underground, during flood rains.
- Avoid driving in water with debris floating downstream, and also avoid driving in water near downed power lines.