The best way to deal with difficult weather conditions on the road is to avoid them altogether, but let’s be honest: there are times when this simply isn’t possible.
It’s important to understand what it means to drive according to road and weather conditions for this reason, and we’ll help you with that in this article.
Photo by Thái An on Unsplash
The Different Types of Weather Conditions
While some of the conditions we’ll discuss don’t seem as though they’d be very dangerous, they will be if you don’t understand how to handle the condition properly. Others are dangerous, but there are ways to mitigate this danger.
We’ll cover all of this and more below, starting with fog.
Fog is very common in the mornings, which is when many people need to drive to work. The reduced visibility makes it difficult to see everything from oncoming traffic to normal road hazards such as potholes or even road signs, but there are ways to safely navigate it.
The first thing to do is minimize distractions. It may be wise to either keep your podcasts or music a bit quieter than normal or to keep it off for the trip. Turn your phone off if you can, and set up your entertainment and GPS before you start driving.
Distractions take your eyes off the road, which is dangerous already, but doing so when visibility is reduced is even more so.
You also need to drive with your low beams, as the high beams will reflect off the fog, making it even more difficult to see. Some other ways to make traversing fog safe include using your windshield wipers and driving a bit slower than normal.
Rain is a condition that doesn’t seem dangerous to drive in at first, especially when it’s light, but this misunderstanding of its impact is exactly why it can be more dangerous than some other conditions. The road will be wet, which means it will be slippery.
As a result, many of the methods to drive in rain safely are similar to those for ice. You’ll need to drive a bit slower than normal and be more gentle about acceleration and deceleration, or speeding up and slowing down. The biggest risk while driving on wet roads is hydroplaning, where your vehicle is riding on the rainwater instead of the road.
If this begins to happen, relax and ease up on the accelerator. Don’t hit the brakes, and let your car slow down naturally. You will regain control if you stay calm and don’t make any sudden movements.
Snow seems as though it’s less dangerous than rain, but this isn’t always the case. If the snow is coming down hard, is being blown by the wind, or the roads haven’t been salted yet, there is an inherent danger in driving while it snows.
As a result, the best driving tip for driving in snow is to avoid it when possible. While you may know what to do to stay safe, not everyone will, and some may not take any safety precautions at all, which increases the risk of an accident.
When you do have to drive in these conditions, you’ll want to put more space between you and the vehicle in front of you, decrease your speed, and avoid speeding up or slowing down too quickly or suddenly.
If it looks as though the snow will start coming down harder or the wind will blow the flakes more, it may be wise to stop for a bit and let the snow or wind slow down before continuing your trip. These will reduce visibility, so only stop where it is safe to do so. Make sure you’re paying extra attention during your drive as well.
Photo by Micha Sager on Unsplash
4. High Wind
Driving in high winds has its concerns, but there are ways to make driving in high winds safer. The most important tip is to anticipate gusts. Wind gusts are when the wind suddenly increases in speed for a short time before returning to normal.
Gusts happen randomly, and while the speed may not be too much more than the current wind speed, it could also be much faster and louder than the current speed. If you’re braced for when they happen, then you can react accordingly.
You’ll also need to pay attention to large vehicles as they have more surface area for the wind to push against. They may struggle to stay in the proper lane as a result.
One more high-wind driving tip is always keeping your hands on the wheel. Doing this allows you to react and control your vehicle better should the wind start to push it, which is especially important during wind gusts as while they may suddenly push your vehicle.
Ice is one of if not the most dangerous conditions to drive in. If the temperatures are cold enough, then the salt on the roads may not be enough to prevent ice from forming, which creates slippery patches on the road.
Regular ice can be difficult, if not impossible, to see, but black ice, which is transparent ice that forms on roads, is especially dangerous as you won’t know it’s there until you’re on it.
There are some precautions and strategies you can employ to make driving safer, but be aware that it is still dangerous, and accidents are highly likely in icy conditions. Before winter hits, make sure your tires are inflated and designed for winter, which will increase your traction on slippery roads.
You also need to employ a few of the strategies discussed earlier, such as driving slower, avoiding sudden speed changes, putting more space between yourself and the car in front of you, and more. Avoid distractions and focus on the road so you can react as quickly as possible.
Staying Safe, No Matter the Weather
Sometimes, the other drivers around you are more dangerous than the condition you’re driving in. You may be using all of the tips mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean all drivers are.
Even if they are a small mistake, that wouldn’t be a large problem during ideal conditions can be a lot more dangerous during rough weather or road conditions. Avoid driving in these conditions if you can, but follow these tips when you can’t—have a safe trip!
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