Hazardous Driving Conditions

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Bad Weather Driver's Safety Tips

As helpful as it would be sometimes, the weather isn’t going to wait until you’ve traveled to wherever it is you need to go. While it’s much safer and smarter to avoid bad weather driving altogether, sometimes it’s just not possible we still have jobs or schools to get to, appointments to maintain, groceries to buy, and everything else that encompasses our daily lives. It’s important to know how to drive in inclement weather safely and strategically, so that you’ll make it to your destination in one piece. Whether you know about the weather conditions beforehand or you suddenly find yourself caught in a freak rain or snow storm, this driver’s safety tips will give you the foundation you need to handle anything that comes your way.

Keep Your Car Maintained

The easiest and most important thing you can do to give yourself the advantage should bad weather hit is to keep your car in good condition. If any components of your vehicle fail or are not working properly when you’re hit with a storm, you could be put at serious risk. Here is a list of the things you should always check every time you get into your car; if any of these aren’t working or have deteriorated, get them fixed or replaced as soon as you can!

  • Headlights, tail lights, and brake lights
  • Windshield wipers and blades
  • Horn
  • Defroster
  • Tires and wheels (check tread and pressure)
  • Brakes
  • Battery

Avoid Sudden Moves

Whether driving through rain or over ice, it’s important to maintain control of your vehicle if you go into a skid or a hydroplane. Both of these situations could potentially be avoided by slowing your speed to match the conditions you’re driving in; but sometimes your tire will catch just the wrong way, and you could go into a spin. Remain calm, and do NOT slam on your brakes; this will just make things worse! Ease your foot off the gas, and only apply brake pressure slowly and steadily if necessary; turn your wheels into the spin just be sure not to over-correct, or else you’ll start spinning the other way.

Pay Close Attention

Being hyper-aware of your surroundings will help you avoid a potentially dangerous situation, especially those involving other drivers. Watch all intersections and stop signs closely to be sure that no one is coming, or no one has lost control and is sliding through them. Watch the road for standing or running water, and go around it if possible. If you must go through standing water, always go slowly; water splashing up into your undercarriage could cause major electrical problems with your car. If you’re driving through dense fog, maintain enough distance between you and other cars so that you can see their brake or tail lights, but you have enough time to stop suddenly if needed.

Know another Route

It’s always a good idea to have an alternative route to follow in case the one you’re planning to use gets blocked or is too dangerous to travel. Even if it takes a little longer to reach your destination, it’s the right move to ensure that you and your passengers remain safe.

Keep a “Survival Kit”

Sometimes it’s best just to pull off the road if rain, snow, fog, or other bad weather driving is too heavy to safely navigate. If this happens, you may not know how long it will be before you’re able to resume your journey. Keeping a “survival” kit in the car will give you a means to stay safe while you wait it out. Some of the things to keep handy in your backseat or trunk are:

  • A blanket
  • Extra clothing
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow and tire chains
  • A tool kit
  • A First Aid kit
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • Ice scraper

With supplies on hand, you should be ready to spend a few hours until you can get back on the roads or until help arrives. If it seems as if you’ll be stranded for longer, be sure to ration your supplies as necessary. By following these driver’s safety tips for bad weather driving, you’ll be ready for any situation that crosses your path!

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