Safety Season: Bad Weather Driving

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The Holiday Season at The Kicker is Safety Season. Every Monday we’ll post about safety and include helpful information and tips to keep you and you’re family as safe as possible on the roads. If you’d like to find helpful links to all this information and more please check out our Safety Tab on thekickerblog.com (Drive Safe, Buying a Safe Car, After Accident Action Steps).

By Staff

If you don’t have experience driving in inclement weather its a good idea to avoid it entirely, but if you must go places try to take someone with you who does have experience and get some practice someplace where you’re not likely to hit anything.

Here are a few tips for driving in bad weather.

Snow/Ice

Step number one is not being in a rush. Just plan on taking twice as much time to get there and you won’t be tempted to push your luck, take short cuts or speed.

  •  Test out your brakes.  Ever car is different and the only way to be sure is to test your equipment at low speed to get an idea what you might be facing.
  •  Take corners slowly.  Slow before corners not during. Think–take on one problem at a time. First change speed, then direction.
  •  Accelerate gradually.  It’s not just slowing down that takes extra care. Tires without traction spin out. Don’t be a rabbit off the line when the light turns green and don’t slam on your brakes at a yellow light.
  •  Beware of black ice!  Black ice is difficult to spot. You’ll simply have to be aware that its below freezing so anything that looks wet is probably frozen. Bridges, over passes, and places that are shaded will be more icy even when the day warms up.

Fog

Believe it or not dense fog is statistically known to cause more accidents than ice. Think about it, black ice aside, you know when the roads are likely to be slick from cold weather conditions. Fog can come out of nowhere and drop visibility to a few feet. If you’re driving at freeway speeds sudden blindness is a problem. Keep following in mind:

  •  Do NOT use your high-beam headlights!  Doing so will reflect light off the fog ahead of you, making it even harder to see. Instead, turn on your regular headlights, or, your fog lights, if you have them.
  •  Use the white line on the right side of the road.  This will help guide you and keep you in your lane. It will also prevent your vision from being impaired by the headlights of oncoming traffic.
  •  Maintain a longer following distance.  When the car in front of you passes an object count out at least 5 one-thousands before letting yourself pass it. Stay roughly 10 MPH below the speed limit–its better to get rear-ended than to run over a pedestrian.
  •  Use your turn signals early.  Give cars behind you plenty of notice that you’ll be slowing down to make a turn.

Rain

Replace your windshield wipers every fall. They are your first line of defense.

  • Maintain a longer following distance.  It takes longer to stop when driving in wet weather and the roads can be slick. Having to slam on your brakes results in skidding.
  •  Turn on your headlights.  They’ll not only help you see, but will make sure you’re visible to other drivers.
  •  Drive in the middle lanes.  Water is more likely to pool on the outer edges of the road.
  •  Try and avoid puddles.  Driving over puddles of water can cause your car to hydroplane out of control. It’s helpful to drive in the tracks of the car in front of you. And keep your speed below 45MPH if you see standing water on the road.

For more resources on safe and defensive driving, check out idrivesafely.com.

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