As temperatures in the northern provinces of South Africa soar, the Automobile Association (AA) warns drivers not to leave children or pets in vehicles, even for short periods of time.

The AA recommends that people consider leaving children or pets at home, or dropping them off before running other errands.

“Temperatures in cars can climb very rapidly, and even if a window is cracked slightly open, the inside temperature will exceed outside temperatures by several degrees,” stated the AA. “Children and pets who are left in cars are vulnerable and can become dehydrated quickly.”

Drivers are also being warned that these hot, summer days may be followed by heavy downpours, and may, in some cases, even lead to floods. The AA recommends that cars are maintained in a good condition and that all windscreen wipers – front and back – are working properly. Although wipers may not have been used for some time, they can become damaged from exposure to the sun, and should be checked before they are needed in a downpour.

Tyres should also be checked to ensure they are in good condition as worn tyres may lead to aquaplaning in wet weather if they are beginning to wear down. Any tyres which are balding, including the spare tyre, should be replaced immediately to avoid potential risks.

“There are still some severe weather warnings for parts of the country issued by the South African Weather Service, and road users are urged to check local weather listings for any potential weather hazards in their area or on their routes,” the AA added. “We also warn road users not to take chances in areas with low-lying bridges. Remember, your safety, and that of any passengers, is more important than anything else so be careful when driving in dangerous conditions.”