How To Drive In Extreme Weather
Driving in extreme weather is equally nerve wracking and dangerous and you should avoid it at all costs. But, sometimes there is no way around being on the road when extreme weather hits. Make sure you follow these basic rules to be as safe as possible when driving in treacherous conditions.
Extreme rain can cause all kinds of problems on the road. For starters, visibility will be low. The rain will not allow you to see as far and as wide as you can in normal daylight, so it is important you are more alert than ever. You will also want to make sure your wiper blades are in top shape before the rains hit so you do not have issues with them. Rain-X will also help you clear your windshield and see better. In some states, like New Jersey, it is a law that when your wipers are on your headlights are on. Even if it is not a law and it is not dark out, you should turn your lights on in extreme rain to make yourself easier for other drivers to see. It is critical that you avoid any roads with standing water. There is no way of actually knowing just how deep the water you are approaching is, so it is never a good idea to try to drive through it. Finally, as with all extreme weather, you will want to take things slower than normal when driving in extreme rain. High speeds will increase your likelihood of hydroplaning on the slick roads.
Ice and Snow
The winter months are some of the worst to drive in. Even if it has not snowed in awhile, roads can be icy and unsafe. The most important thing to do in snowy or icy conditions is to take it very slow. Sudden increases or decreases in speed or changes of direction are almost impossible on ice or snow. You need to leave much more space than you usually do between other cars and make sure you slow down early and speed up slowly whenever possible. You will also want to make sure your defrosters are in working condition and do not be afraid to use them. The first sign of frost, or earlier, you should turn your defrosters on as your windshield will frost up much quicker than you think. Finally, be sure you do not try to “floor it” to get out of a snow drift. If your car is stuck in snow, spinning the tires will only dig you deeper in and create more of a problem.
Fog is one of the most unique types of extreme weather to drive in. Roads themselves may not be dangerous, but the lack of visibility is a very tricky situation. The most important thing to remember when driving in dense fog is that your high beams actually make things worse. The bright and wide lights make it harder to see, rather than easier, so you should stick with your low beams. If the fog is bad enough and you can barely see the front of your car, you need to stop driving. There are no safe ways to navigate roads you can hardly see. Dense fog is one of the hardest forms of extreme weather to deal with and there are very few tricks to make it easier.
High winds may not seem like they would be a problem for drivers, but they certainly are. Extreme winds can cause debris to fly into roads, trees to lose limbs, and traffic lights to go out. If you are going to be driving in high wind and are familiar with the area you should try to avoid roads that have tree cover. Limbs falling into the road during a storm will not have police to help direct traffic or a crew to clean them up so it can create confusion. Hailstorms can damage your car and even crack your windshield, so it is crucial that you find cover under a bridge or other structure when you start seeing hail. In the rare event you are driving and see a tornado, never try to outrun it. The tornado is moving much faster than it may appear and you can find yourself caught in the extreme winds before you know it. Find a safe place to pull over and take cover and worry about your car later.
The best way to drive in extreme weather is to not drive at all. If you have to use the roads the most important things to do, regardless of what the weather is, are to be more alert than ever, drive slow, and of course buckle up. No matter how treacherous the conditions may be, you must stay calm and navigate carefully.