Driving in Bad Weather
Written by greg on December 4, 2014
With the winter season in full force and holiday travel imminent, many drivers will find themselves in the midst of bad weather conditions while on the road. As noted by the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, there are approximately 5,870,000 vehicle crashes every year. As the research works to point out, of these crashes, approximately 23% are weather related crashes. That means that every year an estimated 1,312,000 vehicle crashes occur because of bad weather.
According to the research, bad weather can include the following:
- Wet pavement
- Snowy/Slushy pavement
- Icy pavement
- Severe Crosswinds
- Blowing Debris (snow, sand, etc.)
As mentioned, daily or holiday travel, especially in the winter months can often mean that driving through bad weather is inevitable. However, driving through bad weather can be done with the assurance that one makes it from point A to point B safely and securely. Use these tips to ensure that when you drive through bad weather, you do it right!
Bad weather driving often requires the use of all of the main controls (clutch, brake, accelerator, and steering) with very little room for error during an emergency. Research has shown that bad weather can not only limit visibility, as one might expect, but can also create small nuances that are more likely to cause an accident. For instance, wet shoes causing one to slip their foot off of the pedal. Thus, there are some things to keep in mind before travelling.
- Check your headlights and brake lights are working properly.
- Ensure that wiper blades and turn signals are also working correctly. (Wiper blades should be replaced completely at least once a year).
- Check your tires on a regular basis!
- Turn on your lights before traveling and gauge road conditions. If conditions are too unfavorable, reschedule!
- Scruff the soles of your shoes on a rubber matt or carpeting before starting the engine.
General Safety Tips
While driving through very inclement weather, it’s important to remember these important safety tips:
- Slow down at least 5 – 10 miles per hour. At higher speeds your car can hydroplane, causing a serious accident.
- Stay two car lengths away from the driver in front of you in the event that your car or theirs loses control and spins out.
- Utilize fog lights if necessary.
- Avoid driving through standing water. If you drive through a puddle, remember to take your foot off of the gas and work to feather the brakes.
- Maintain caution at all times! If an area looks unsafe, the weather creates little to no visibility, or there is a great deal of wind, lightening, snow, or another element, pull over or get to a safe location!
Play it Safe!
Remember, before you drive it is important to check road and weather conditions before setting out on your destination. Drivers in the state can call 1-800-452-9292 in order to receive road condition information. The Texas Department of transportation also provides highway conditions information 24/7.