FindItMore | Given that different circumstances will require different driving approaches, it can help a lot if you know what you are doing behind the wheel of your car. Because even driving on a beautiful and sunny day can be stressful if there is enough traffic around. So, consider this article the starting point for learning to drive safely in all types of weather conditions. Below is practical advice from the best DWI lawyer on how to safely drive in all weather conditions.
Is Your Car Prepared For Winter?
During the summer, you probably don’t have too many issues with your car. But extreme cold temperatures can do some significant damage in several places. This is why you should be extra careful and gear your car for the winter months. In other words, get it serviced by a professional. And make sure everything from the brakes and wipers to the ignition should be a good working condition.
It is also recommended to keep more than enough gas in the tank, especially if you are going to travel long distances. And don’t forget about winter tires or chains if the roads are sleek in your area, just for extra precaution.
Always keep in mind that winter driving conditions make everything more challenging. Elements like rain, snow, and ice are guaranteed to slow down the brake reaction for your car. With less traction on the road, you will definitely need more distance to bring the car to a total stop safely. So, drive slower than you normally would, keep a bigger distance between you and other cars, and take it easy with the turns. In case of heavy snow or rain, reduce your speed to at least half of what the posted limits suggest.
Another crucial factor is the tread depth of the tires. More specifically, when you notice they are not as deep as they should be, don’t risk using them during winter. It’s hard enough to keep tires with great traction on a slippery road. But when there is no tread depth, there is even less traction and control.
The same consideration should go to tire pressure. While it might not seem too important right now, under-inflated tires make it harder to control the car. In addition, you can expect the tire pressure to naturally differ during the winter and summer months. For example, when temperatures outside fall or rise by ten degrees, it changes the tire pressure with anything between one or two PSI. At the same time, permeation will see the tires losing pressure, which is why you should regularly check the PSI.
When Driving In Ice Or Snow Conditions
Watch Your Speed
As mentioned earlier, a much slower speed is key to staying in control. But bridges and overpasses are especially dangerous given that they tend to freeze first. So, be extra vigilant where speed is concerned.
It sounds pretty obvious that you need visibility to drive. But when conditions get extreme, it compromises visibility in many ways. This is why cleaning the window before hitting the road is very important. You also want to test the wipers and see if they are as effective as possible beforehand. Scrape away all the ice or snow if applicable, turn on the defroster as high as you need to, and switch on the headlights for good measure. At no point during your drive should you lose visibility? And if you do, pull over and address the problem first.
Careful With The Brakes
The last thing you want to do is hit the brakes hard when on a slippery road. This can potentially cause a lock-up and take away control from the steering. So try to keep the pressure on the brakes firm and constant, while avoiding the need to stop abruptly.
Be Smart When You Get Stuck
It’s a natural instinct to floor it when you get stuck in the snow. But this only makes things worse. Instead, get your wheels straight and gradually try to move forward. When this doesn’t work, use sand, bricks, or blocks underneath the wheel.
When Driving In Wet Conditions
Always Use The Wipers
Even quality wipers wear and tear pretty quickly compared to other parts of the car. But luckily they are cheap and easy to replace. Worn out wipers will not effectively keep the window clean, so get them replaced every six to twelve months.
Turn On The Headlights
Not only do you want to see as much as possible, but you also want to be visible to other drivers.
Maintain Clear Visibility
Always make sure you can clearly see through the window, and if necessary, use the defroster or slightly open the window.
It’s better to arrive late than never. And this translates into taking it slow when the road is wet.
Avoid Cruise Control
In the case of rainy weather, always stay in total control of the car and avoid using cruise control.
When Driving In Foggy Conditions
Utilize Low Beams/Fog Lights
It doesn’t matter whether you hit the fog during the day or night, make use of low beams and fog lights. High beams have a tendency to reflect off the fog and make visibility very difficult.
Wait For The Fog To Clear
Alternatively, wait for the fog to clear before hitting the road.
When Driving In Extreme Conditions
- Keep The Headlights And Wipers On
- Stay Up To Date
By listening to the radio, you can stay up to date with weather reports and traffic situations.
Don’t Test Tornados
It is never wise to try and beat the speed of a tornado. Instead, exit the car and find a place to safely wait it out. And when a safe place isn’t nearby, stay in low areas or find a ditch, where you lie down and protect yourself from debris. Then move inland the moment it is safe to do so.
When Driving In General Conditions
- Always wear your seatbelt
- Keep your focus on the road, as well as your destination
- Always have an emergency kit in the car
- Ensure your car is in good condition
Additional Tips For Commercial Drivers
- Be aware of rollover and truck limitations, based on the large surface area and the high center of gravity.
- Pay attention to strong or heavy winds, as these can force trucks to veer to the side.
- In case of losing cargo, stop immediately, alert the necessary authorities, set flares in the road to warn others, and try to clear the debris – but only if it can be done safely.