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By Editorial staff

Journalist


The deadly reality of floods for South African motorists

Half of flood fatalities involve cars. Despite recent rescues, many fail to respect water's power. It's time for better safety training.


It is sobering to realise that around half of all the people who die in floods in this country are either trapped in cars or killed in collisions caused by fast-flowing water.

The latest example of a motorist getting out of her depth – fortunately without fatal consequences – was yesterday in Tshwane, when emergency services crews managed to rescue a woman from her stalled car in 40cm-deep rushing water in Centurion.

All too often, South African motorists fail to respect the power of water. Some are arrogant, believing that in their tough SUV or 4×4 vehicle, they are immune to the laws of physics.

And one of the facts you cannot run away from is that, when it comes to a vehicle, even massive off-road monsters, the individual “contact patch” of each tyre is hardly bigger than an adult handprint.

Because of this, fast flowing water exerting serious force can overwhelm vehicles in seconds.

ALSO READ: Tshwane EMS rescue trapped driver after at least 15 Centurion roads are flooded

However, this issue is more than just individual driver recklessness – although that does play a major part. It is about inadequate driver training.

In a country like South Africa, where flash floods happen regularly, awareness and safety training should be a much more important part of the K53 licence manual.

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