Motorists should be cautious as the extreme weather in some parts of the country have resulted in very dangerous road conditions, the Road Traffic Management Corporation said on Sunday.
The country has been gripped by freezing weather with rain and snowfall in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and the Free State.
Poor visibility, heavy rain and snowfall has seen disaster management teams having their hands full trying to assist motorists stuck on the roads.
The N1 between Beaufort West and Richmond and the N12 between Beaufort West and Victoria West were closed. They have since been re-opened.
"Graders have been brought in to remove the snow. However some of the snow has turned into ice because of the extreme cold. We urge caution on the roads," spokesperson for the RTMC, Ashraf Ismail, said.
Motorists who forced their way found themselves stuck and could not move.
Western Cape disaster management teams were trying to access them. Most spent the night in vehicles, he said.
"It will take some time before the snow clears. Travellers should be patient and wait at least until the weather subsides. They should follow a safe distance and always buckle up."
In light of the above, we've put together some advice on driving in snow and ice, courtesy of the UK's IAM Drive & Survive.
- Make sure your windows are clear and that you have all-round visibility before you set off. Also take the time to clear snow off the roof of your car
- When driving in snow, get your speed right — not too fast that you risk losing control, but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it
- Start gently from stationary, avoiding high revs. Stay in a higher gear for better control, and if it is slippery, in a manual car move off in a higher gear, rather than just using first
- If you get yourself into a skid, the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the pedals and steer
- Only use the brake if you cannot steer out of trouble. Double or even triple your normal stopping distance from the vehicle in front so you are not relying on your brakes to be able to stop. It simply may not happen!
- It's better to think ahead as you drive to keep moving, even if it is at walking pace
- Bends are a particular problem in slippery conditions — slow down before you get to the bend, so that by the time you turn the steering wheel you have already lost enough speed
- On a downhill slope, get your speed low before you start the descent, and do not let it build up — it is much easier to keep it low than to try and slow down once things get slippery
And if the worst does happen:
- Keep track of where you are. If you do have to call for assistance, you need to be able to tell the breakdown or emergency services your location, so they can find you
- If you must leave your vehicle to telephone for assistance, find a safe place to stand away from the traffic flow. If you have just lost control the next driver could well do the same in the same place