When it comes to the weather in northeast Ohio, it can be anything but predictable. One day the sun is shining bright and warm in the sky, and the next day brings torrential downpours or even a blizzard! Even the most experienced drivers can have trouble driving in certain weather conditions, especially when the hazardous weather seems to come out of nowhere.
Learning how to prepare for dangerous road conditions due to Mother Nature can help keep you and others on the road safe.
Safe Driving Tips for Hazardous Weather Conditions
If you can avoid driving during extreme weather, then that should be your first course of action: stay off the roads! However, when it’s absolutely necessary to get from point A to point B, keep these safe driving tips at the top of your mind the next time you’re on the road and facing these types of weather conditions:
Thunderstorms and Heavy Rain: First of all, make sure you always have good windshield wipers. When you notice signs of wear and tear, replace them. Otherwise you risk limited visibility during even the lightest rain. When driving in heavy rain, keep your headlights turned on and allow yourself plenty of time to stop, this means increasing you following distance by another second or two. Avoid puddles and moving water by driving in the middle lane whenever possible; if you aren’t sure how deep a puddle is, turn around and find another route. You can risk hydroplaning or flooding your engine due to high water levels. Remember it does not take high speeds for your vehicle to hydroplane smaller vehicles could begin to hydroplane at 20 mph.
Thick Fog: If your car is equipped with fog lights, now is the time to use them! Never use your high-beam lights in fog as this can actually make it more difficult to see. Use the white line on the right side of the road as a guide to stay in your lane, and don’t follow the car in front of you too closely. Be prepared for fog in low lying areas near water especially in spring and fall due to drastic temperature changes throughout the day.
Sun Glare: Everyone loves a bright, sunny day. However, driving right into a sunrise or sunset can cause some major sun glare, making it difficult to see the traffic in front of you. Again, the key is to maintain a safe following distance – three to four seconds – from the car in front of you. Keep an extra pair of sunglasses in your glove box for these types of situations, and use that sun visor to block out some of the harshest rays.
Snow and Icy Roads: Heavy snow can cause low visibility – or no visibility – and slick, icy roads. The best recommendation for driving through a blizzard is to just not do it! However, if you’re out and a blizzard hits, drive slowly and cautiously, testing your brakes often. Take corners slowly and accelerate gradually; if you feel yourself spinning, let your foot off the gas and use smooth gradual pressure on the brakes, NEVER pump your brakes! Pumping the brakes will increase your chances of losing control because you are upsetting the dynamics of the vehicle.
Our advanced winter skills clinics are a great way to understand proper operation of a vehicle in poor weather conditions. The skid vehicles allow us to take your skills and knowledge to a whole new level in proper operation of your vehicle, building confidence and a higher understanding of how to control these situations.
Learn how to become a safe, confident driver with DriveTeam! Our teen driving classes or corporate driver training program teaches safe driving tips to those of all ages. Contact us for more information.