Driving Safely in Severe Weather
Austin traffic is already a disaster. Now take the near constant construction and combine that with hazardous weather, and you have an accident waiting to happen. With the increasing frequency of severe weather, let’s talk about we talk about driving in the rainy and other dangerous conditions.
We took some advice from the National Driver Safety Services and found some tips that we believe will help you know when to be cautious on the road.
The Best Insurance – 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
- Tires and wheels (check tread and pressure)
Maintain Control of Your Vehicle to Avoid Injury
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 potentially could 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 to Road Conditions
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.
Use GPS to Find 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”in Your Vehicle
Sometimes it’s best to pull off the road if rain, snow, fog, or other bad weather 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!
Thanks to Texas Defensive Driving and the National Drivers Safety Services for the helpful tips! Here are some additional tips to keep on your radar!
-Consider investing in a GPS for your car. You know not to text and drive, so using a vehicle-based GPS makes sense to be sure you aren’t distracted while road conditions are difficult.
When possible, keep radio stations that give constant weather and traffic updates programed and saved. This information may allow you to know when to pull over and what routes to avoid without needing to your phoen for information.
-Ask yourself: Should you be driving at all? Many times in dangerous weather the best choice is to stay home.