Driving in Bad Weather - Car Tips

As weather grows more extreme, driving conditions become more dangerous. Whether a teen, adult, or senior citizen, motorists must ensure they take ample precautions during bad weather while on the road. Several conditions can increase the dangers and risks associated with driving in severe weather. These conditions include rain, floods, winter storms, fog, tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms. Implementing safety measures is every motorist’s best method for remaining safe when driving in bad weather.

Rain

  • Always drive with your headlights on, especially when driving with windshield wipers on. Use your defroster in order to increase visibility.
  • Prepare for sudden stops by reducing your speed. Drive in the path the car ahead of you has left behind. Keep a slow speed in order to prepare for any unpredictable activity on the road.
  • Be aware of hydroplaning by ensuring your tires are full of air and have the correct amount of tread needed. Drive slowly in heavy rain conditions and if you hydroplane, remove your foot from the gas. Do not steer the vehicle to the right or left, but rather keep it straight. Do not attempt to hit the brakes, as this will cause your vehicle to spin out beneath you. Reduce speed, as this will cause the vehicle to make contact with the pavement and stop the hydroplaning.
  • It is not just heavy rains that are troublesome, but light rains can prove dangerous as well. Be aware that any puddles may hide oil slicks from view and vehicles driving over these at accelerated speeds may encounter great danger.
  • Drive slowly in rain as there is no way to tell if potholes are in the road, or whether you are driving over objects that could damage tires.

Floods

  • Never drive through floodwaters as it is impossible to accurately gauge how deep the waters are. Approximately two feet of standing water is all that is needed to sweep a vehicle away.
  • Those who find their vehicle in an area of swiftly flowing water should reduce speed without stepping on the brakes. Slowly navigate the vehicle away from the source of the water.
  • Never remain in a vehicle that has been swept away in a flash flood. As soon as your car is caught, get out and seek higher ground.

Winter Storms

  • Prepare for winter weather by installing snow tires with heavy tread, and using chains.
  • Make certain to have an emergency supply kit in your vehicle at all times. 
  • Prepare your vehicle before driving in winter weather by removing all snow and ice from the car.
  • Never stop quickly during winter weather as roads may be icy. Always ease your foot slowly off the gas pedal to reduce speed in a controlled and even manner.
  • Prepare to have as much as 12 times more stopping distance on icy roads than you would on normal roads. This indicates that you must drive slowly and keep a good distance between vehicles.
  • The safest place to be if you get caught in a blizzard and there are no buildings around is your vehicle. Always keep an emergency supply kit that includes blankets, food, a change of clothes, flashlights, an extra cell phone that is charged, and medical kit. Keep your vehicle on a full tank of gas before heading out in winter conditions.
  • If you are trapped in your vehicle during a blizzard, run the heater at ten-minute intervals to conserve energy while staying warm. Make certain to have plenty of warm blankets, jackets, gloves, and other gear in your vehicle.

Fog

  • Use low beams or fog lights when approaching fog to enhance visibility.
  • If fog is so thick that your visibility is severely hindered, roll down the windows and listen for other vehicles.
  • Slow down before entering a fog cloud and never drive full speed into it. 
  • Use your windshield wipers and defroster through fog as fog clouds consist of moisture and the defroster will help reduce the amount of moisture on windshields and mirrors.
  • Remain alert for other vehicles that may not see or hear you approaching.

 

Tornadoes

  • Those in vehicles that know a tornado is approaching should abandon the car and seek emergency shelter somewhere else. Seek shelter in low-lying areas if a secure building is unavailable.
  • Never chase tornadoes or try to outrun them.

 

 

Hurricanes 

  • Always follow evacuation orders in case of a hurricane, and make certain you have an emergency supply kit with you. Never evacuate on less than a full tank of gas. Get gas before the evacuation order is issued.
  • Use a NOAA weather radio to monitor weather conditions in your community. Before an evacuation know routes and have a plan.
  • Hurricanes can cause unsafe and hazardous road conditions. Evacuate when told, but also stay off the road if ordered to do so. Hurricanes pose serious threat as downed power lines, trees, and high wind speeds can prove fatal.
  • Be prepared for flash floods and evacuate early.

 

Thunderstorms

  • The safest place during a lightning storm is inside your vehicle. Due to the dangers of lightning striking trees, it is best to remain in your vehicle, away from forested areas or those with plenty of trees.
  • Beware of possible flooded areas and downed power lines.

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