I’ve encountered every type of bad weather while driving. A number of times, I’ve seen rain so heavy you can barely see the road, fog so thick you can hardly see in front of you, fierce snow storms, black ice, and more. I know the roads pretty well where I live, and yet I’ve learned by experience (and seeing many car accidents) that driving in bad weather takes skill.
When driving in bad weather, the most important things you can do are to slow down, maintain a safe following distance from other cars (in case they skid out of control or come to a sudden stop), and to brake gradually when possible (to allow other cars to slow down without collision).
Here are a few more tips for driving in bad weather:
Tips for Driving in Bad Weather
- Turn on your low-beam headlights or fog lights.
- Be prepared to stop suddenly.
- If the fog becomes so thick that you cannot see well enough to keep driving, pull completely off the road and stop.
- Turn on your emergency flashers.
- As soon as you emerge from the fog turn off your flashers.
- Roads are extra slippery at the start of a rain shower because oil & other residues have not had a chance to wash away.
- Heavy rains can cause hydroplaning. In this case, the key to keeping your tires in contact with the road is to simply slow down.
- Make sure your wiper blades are in good working order (this makes a huge difference in heavy rain).
Snow and Ice
- When you are stopped at a stoplight or stop sign, accelerate slowly when it’s time to go to avoid spinning your tires.
- If your vehicle begins to slide, take the following steps to regain control:
- Take your foot off the accelerator pedal.
- If you have anti-lock brakes, apply them firmly. Otherwise, avoid using brakes, pumping them gently only if you are about to hit something.
- Steer the vehicle into the direction of the skid to straighten out the vehicle and then steer in the direction you wish to go.
Remember that the most important thing is to stay safe. Sometimes that means pulling over to the side of the road to wait out bad weather, or delaying a trip altogether if you know the weather will be bad. You can’t control the weather but you can be prepared when it hits hard.
Want to be even safer? The next time you purchase your new or used vehicle, ask your dealer to install Pulse™ before you drive it off the lot!