You wake up in the morning to go to work, look out the window, and start to panic. The weather outside is frightful and your drive will not be delightful. Are you ready to be a safe driver even when the weather conditions are bad?
Over 400,000 people are injured in weather-related car accidents every year. Driving in poor weather can be challenging, even for people with years of driving experience under their belts. You need to exercise caution on the road.
But what steps should you take to avoid a weather-related driving disaster? We’re here to offer our top tips. Read on to learn how to be a safe driver in unsafe driving conditions.
Monitor Road and Weather Conditions
Before you head out on the road, pay close attention to the road and weather conditions. Check your favorite weather website or channel and view any street cameras that are available.
This will help you prepare yourself for inclement weather driving. You’ll know what you’re getting yourself into.
Many people think that they’re prepared to drive in stormy, foggy, or snowy conditions, but they underestimate the weather. When they get on the road, they’re not actually prepared.
Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
It’s always important to stay aware of your surroundings and practice defensive driving, but it’s even more important when you’re driving in bad weather. You have to be on high-alert.
You want to keep your eyes on the road, as well as on other drivers, pedestrians, and potential hazards. Even if you believe that you’re a smart driver who won’t make any mistakes during inclement weather, don’t assume the same of everyone else.
This is not a good time to take your eyes off the road.
Avoid Unnecessary Distractions
On a similar note, you want to avoid unnecessary distractions while you’re driving in bad weather. This means that it’s more important than ever for you to avoid eating, talking on the phone, or any other potentially risky activities unless they’re absolutely necessary.
You can’t afford distractions when the road conditions are bad. One glance away from the road could result in you hitting an icy patch or rear-ending a vehicle that’s stuck in the snow.
It is of utmost importance that you take your time when you’re driving in poor weather conditions. Give yourself extra time when you leave your starting point if possible. It’s far better to be early to your destination than it is to try to rush your trip.
Driving the speed during bad weather that you would during good weather can be dangerous and negligent. That is why you need to slow down and put more distance between you and the car in front of you.
When road conditions are bad, several things happen. First, you may have poor visibility. What you would normally be able to see many yards in the distance may only be visible from a few feet if there’s snow, fog, or heavy rain. If you’re driving too fast, you may not be able to stop in time.
You may also have less traction on the road. It may take you longer to slow down or stop your car. If you’re driving too fast, it will be that much harder to stop safely.
You should also increase your following distance a fair amount to avoid hitting other cars even if you do lose traction.
If people are driving too close to you, don’t drive faster as long as you’re going a reasonably safe speed. Let them pass you if they choose to.
Use Proper Tools
Make sure you’re using all of the tools at your disposal when you’re driving in unsafe conditions.
First, get snow chains or snow tires if you’re expecting snow. Not everyone needs these things, but they can be incredibly helpful when it comes to maintaining traction on the road.
In most poor weather conditions, make sure you’re using your headlights, even during the day. If it’s foggy, use your low beams in most cases. Remember that it will be harder for other cars to see you, so do your part to make yourself more visible.
Keep an Emergency Kit
Do you have an emergency kit in your car? If not, it’s time to make one. It’s easy.
You should have chargers for your electronics, a blanket, some type of non-perishable snack, water, a snow brush, a snow shovel, and a first-aid kit. This may seem excessive, but it’s always better to be prepared.
Even if you think you’ll never need it based on the weather conditions in your area, it’s good to have it.
Practice in a Safe Place
Are you new to driving in unsafe weather conditions? Perhaps you’re a new driver in general, or you’ve just moved from an area with mild weather.
In this case, it’s a good idea to practice driving in a safe place that doesn’t get much traffic. Empty parking lots and quiet back roads are great for this purpose.
It’s also best to drive with another person in the car if possible. Practice just as you did when you were first learning to drive.
Avoid Driving if Possible
It’s always best if you can avoid driving when the weather is terrible. Even if you’re a safe driver, other people on the road won’t be. The best way to minimize risk is to take yourself off the road.
If possible, carpool or take public transportation. If you’re able to stay home, do so. This won’t be an option for everyone, of course, but it’s the best and safest option.
If that’s not possible, refer back to our other top tips.
Be a Safe Driver in Bad Weather
Being a safe driver isn’t always easy when the weather conditions are terrible. If you’re expecting thick fog, heavy rain, or icy snow, you need to prepare yourself (and your car) for a potentially difficult drive.
It’s also important to continually maintain your vehicle. Make sure the tires have tread, the windshield wipers are working and all headlights and brake lights are functional.
These tips will help you stay safe and alert on the road so you can avoid a driving disaster.
In the event of an accident during bad weather, you may find yourself needing an experienced lawyer. The team at David Bell Law Firm can help. Contact us so we can assess your case today: 706-724-1882.