Flash Floods: What drivers can do in an emergency

Flash floods caused damage in Johannesburg and the East Rand yesterday and there are warnings of more floods today and tomorrow.  SAfm reports that four people have been killed and many are missing, flights out of OR Thambo International Airport have been delayed, and many vehicles were left stranded. Forecaster at the SA weather service, Wayne Venter, said that yesterday severe thunderstorms moved down from the eastern parts of the Northwest Province and the north-eastern parts of the Free State Province, which then moved into Gauteng and caused a large amount of rainfall in a short time. He warned that storms are likely to continue today and tomorrow and said people should keep up with radio and television weather reports to ensure that they are informed. Although the weather in Gauteng is extreme, it does follow summer patterns of thunderstorms.

Weather warnings

The weather bureau has warnings for today of powerful winds on the Cape Peninsula, severe thunderstorms in Gauteng and eastern parts of the Free State and the eastern parts of the Northwest and the Highveld in Mpumalanga. These severe storms could bring heavy rain in a short period of time with a possibility of flooding, and a possibility of hail and strong and damaging winds. The bureau also advises motorists to watch out for the possibility of heavy rainfall that could lead to flooding in eastern parts of the Free State and the western parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal, continuing into tomorrow as well.

What can drivers do if they are caught in a flash flood?

This kind of extreme weather is unusual in South Africa and many drivers are caught off guard in a flash flood which can suddenly appear with enough force to sweep their cars off the road.  What should you do if you are caught in this situation?

  1.  If you come across any water crossing the road, turn around. What seems like a small amount of water can have a deceptive amount of depth and a force that can sweep your car away.
  1.  If your car has already been overcome by water and is stalled or moving in the wrong direction, you need to get out as quickly as possible and get to high ground. You can easily be swept up by a strong current if you are on foot so it’s important to act quickly.
  1.  If you do get swept up by the current, try to grab what you can to pull yourself out. Don’t enter the flood water, rather wait for help to arrive.
  1.  Exit your vehicle as quickly as possible because being swept away is very dangerous. If you are stuck inside a vehicle, roll down your windows to allow water to enter. Exit through the window or wait for the water pressure to equalise on both sides of the door so that you can open it.

At Avis Fleet we like to offer our customers total peace of mind that, should something go wrong (for example flash floods), we’ll be there to assist you in every step of the process. Our comprehensive fleet management solutions take the sting out of dealing with the unforeseen. Have a look at our accident management solution to see how we can assist you.

New Call-to-action


Toll-Free Number

0800 540 740

Road Side Assistance

0800 117 686

Trade & Auction Centre

011 973 7300

Intelligent Fuel Bureau

031 466 2583

Accident Management

0800 033 002