Winter brings with it cold, dark, and wet conditions. Although South Africa’s weather conditions are not usually very extreme, the weather conditions do bring some danger because of their nature.
Here are a few useful tips that will enable you to take your personal safety into your own hands:
Be seen in the dark
- Wear reflective clothing
The sun rises later and sets earlier, which means that you might need to walk to and from work in the dark. This can be dangerous, especially when crossing roads. Although cars’ headlights are supposed to be switched on when it’s dark, drivers might not see you if you wear dark clothing. A car’s headlights need something to reflect off so that the driver can see you. If you’re going to be walking in the dark, try to wear white shoes, or a jacket that has a reflective strip on it. Pants or a hoody that are light in colour will also work well.
- Stay on the pavement
People can’t see very well in the dark, especially when it’s raining. And even in broad daylight, it’s dangerous to walk in the road. In winter, when it’s dark and wet and misty, drivers have poor visibility, and sometimes can’t see pedestrians in the road until it’s too late. Rather stay safe and only walk on the pavement. If you need to cross the road, look to your right, then to your left, and then to your right again to ensure that there is no oncoming traffic.
Avoid the dangers of wet and icy conditions
- Keep a safe driving distance
Have you noticed that the number of accidents seems to increase when it rains? This is because cars slip easily on wet roads when going around a turn or trying to brake quickly.
It is also difficult to see far ahead on the road when the weather is bad. The best way to prevent accidents is to keep to the speed limit and to keep a safe driving distance between your car and the one in front of you. Accidents happen very quickly. Rather drive safely than risk causing an accident or getting caught up in an accident happening in front of you.
- Look out for disguised potholes and black ice
When it rains heavily, water collects in puddles that could hide potholes in the road, and hitting a pothole could cause serious damage to your car.
Snowfall is common in some parts of South Africa, and melted snow can also create puddles in the road. If it is cold enough for the melted snow to start freezing again, a layer of ice – known as black ice – is created. This is the most dangerous type of ice. Drivers can’t see it and car tyres can’t get any traction on it. As a result, drivers can easily lose control of their cars if they drive over black ice, even if they don’t drive fast.
Avoid falling ill
- Take your vitamins
Taking a multivitamin is a very effective way of preventing colds and flu. Although it might seem expensive to buy vitamins at the time, it is much more expensive to go to the doctor. Besides having to pay for a doctor’s visit, you usually have to buy medicine as well if you fall ill. Vitamins boost your immune system, so that your body can fight off illnesses more easily. Additionally, if you do fall ill, you will recover much quicker if your immune system is stronger.
- Keep your upper body warm
Your heart pumps blood to your entire body. If you keep your upper body (around your heart and stomach) warm, the blood pumped to the rest of your body will warm up. This will help your arms, legs, hands, feet, and face warm up as well. Instead of using room heaters that could cause electricity shortages and house fires, rather use a hot water bottle. Keep that hot water bottle against your chest or stomach, so that your upper body is warmed up quickly. You can also wrap a blanket around your body to ensure that the hot water bottle remains in place. The blanket will also keep the heat from the hot water bottle against your body.
What are you doing to stay safe this winter?
Let us know in the comments box below!