As the weather cools down in the region, wet mornings and blankets of fog become the norm. Here are three challenging situations you could face in such weather, and how you can overcome them to get to your destination safe and sound.

AQUAPLANING

Aquaplaning or hydroplaning is caused when heavy rainfall causes a layer of water to build up between a vehicle’s tyres and the surface of the road beneath. This prevents the tyres from gripping the road and causes a lack of traction. Unable to steer, brake or accelerate, the driver loses control over the vehicle, a scary experience that can cause an accident.

Two other factors can worsen the situation – the speed of the vehicle and the condition of its tyres.

Tyres in excellent condition can cope with a fair amount of water when driving in such conditions. For tyres with a low tread clearing the water will be a struggle and worse still, they could encourage a build up of water beneath them.

Signs that your car is aquaplaning:

How to control a vehicle that’s aquaplaning

To begin with, (especially now that you have read this article and know better) don't panic. Stay calm and follow these tips:

How to avoid aquaplaning

 

MISTY WINDSCREEN

You get into your car one cold winter day and as you start the engine, the windscreen begins to mist up, impeding your vision. The cause, is YOU! Your body and breath heats up the water vapour in the air inside the cabin, increasing the amount of moisture it can contain. When this vapour makes contact with your windscreen, it cools, condenses and forms a mist.

If your car has a climate control system, you will soon be good to go. If not, here’s what you should do.

How to demist your windscreen

Use the heater

Start the heater off cold. Gradually increase the temperature as the air dries out, to prevent filling the interior with hot, ‘wet’ air.

Ensure the heater's blast is directed at the windscreen and the windows. The warm air will begin to dry the ice-cold glass and heat it up to prevent the water vapour condensing on it again.

Use the air-con or your windows

Use the air-con along with the heater. This will keep the atmosphere inside dry and prevent further condensation.

Alternatively roll down the windows and let the dry, cold air from outside reduce the amount of water vapour inside the car. Once the windscreen is cleared you can gradually warm up the car to a temperature that suits you.

Don’t drive off until all glass surfaces are clear as it is both dangerous and against the law to drive with impeded visibility. If the misting occurs while you are driving, pull over in a safe place and wait for your windows to clear.

DRIVING IN FOG

The difference between fog and mist, is visibility - how far you can see though them. If you can see less than 1,000 meters away, it’s fog. If you can see further than that, it’s mist. This reduced visibility issue is what makes fog lights so important.

Fog light symbol

Make sure you know where your fog-light switch is (usually on the dashboard, steering wheel stalk, or near the dial to control your regular lights).

Here's what fog light symbols look like:

Front fog light on the right

What should you do when driving in fog?

Using fog lights

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