One of the most important lessons beginning drivers can learn is to adapt their driving to the day’s weather conditions. In fact, a person who drives the same way in all types of weather is risking an accident. Of course, if an individual doesn’t have to go out onto the roads in bad weather, then he or she should avoid it. The following looks at some safety practices to keep in mind when driving in any season.
Practice Extra Caution in Bad Weather
First, when the roads are wet due to rain or snow it’s best for a driver to be at least one car’s length behind the car in front of him or her. This is important because when roads are wet, tires can skid making it difficult to slow or stop the car. Drivers who stay a car length behind the car ahead of them have more space and time to stop if their car begins to skid. In many cases, this can help them to avoid hitting the car in front of them! Alternatively, a driver who follows too closely behind another car (on wet or dry roads) increases the chances of a wreck.
Other precautions a driver can take in bad weather include slowing down and turning the headlights on. Slowing down gives a driver more options if he or she sees an uncertain situation on the road ahead. Plus, a person who is driving slowly has a little extra control of the vehicle. Having the headlights on in bad weather serves two purposes. One, it allows the driver to see the road and other drivers as well as pedestrians. Secondly, having the headlights on lets other drivers know there is another car in the area. Staying in the same lane is also a good idea because a driver who frequently changes lanes runs the risk of skidding or losing sight of other nearby drivers.
Many accidents occur in intersections. Some intersections have stop signs while others have traffic lights. A driver is wise to slow down when approaching an intersection especially if the traffic light is yellow. Also, it’s a good idea for a driver to pause two or three seconds before turning right on a red light. (Drivers should always check to see whether turning right on a red light is a legal maneuver in their area.) Sometimes waiting just two or three seconds after a light turns green can help someone to avoid an accident. For example, while pausing, the person may avoid colliding with a driver who is racing through the opposite traffic light that is turning red.
Preparation for Driving on Snow and Ice
It’s important to have a car checked by a mechanic before the winter driving season begins. Typically, a mechanic will check the windshield wiper fluid, anti-freeze, tires, battery, and the oil. For instance, a battery that is in good working order can help a driver to avoid being stranded away from home. Not surprisingly, regular maintenance can help a person to operate a car safely during the winter as well as through the other seasons.
In the wintertime, it’s wise for a driver to have an emergency kit in the car in the event of a breakdown. An emergency kit should include jumper cables, a basic first aid kit, a reflector to set on the road near the disabled car, a blanket, simple snacks, a flashlight, gloves, and a cell phone charger. These things can help a driver to stay safe and comfortable while waiting for help if the car breaks down. Plus, the jumper cables and a few of the other items can be of help to other drivers in need of assistance. If a person’s car breaks down in the winter it’s important to run the car’s heater for short periods of time to keep warm. A driver should make sure the tailpipe of the car is free of snow or other debris so as to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when the heater is running.
Using an ice scraper to clean a car’s windshield, back window, and headlights is the first thing to do before a drive on snowy roads. Drivers should take it slow on snowy roads to give themselves more reaction time if they begin to slide. If the car does begin to slide on the road it’s important not to slam on the brakes. If a driver has a car with anti-lock brakes, then he or she needs to apply steady, even pressure to the brake pedal. Drivers should try to stay behind snow plows and not impede their progress. Most people who are confident wintertime drivers have years of experience with different kinds of inclement weather.
Considerations for Driving in the Rain
Hydroplaning is a danger that drivers face when it is raining. Hydroplaning is when a car skims across a pool or puddle of water. In short, the driver has lost control of the vehicle for the time it is on the water. If this happens a driver must remember to keep the car’s wheels straight and ease off the accelerator (gas). The car will regain traction. Once again, driving slowly in the rain, especially when it starts raining, is a good idea. Vigilant drivers can often see puddles of water up ahead and find ways to safely avoid them.
A thunderstorm with lots of wind and blowing rain can make it very difficult for a driver to see even if the windshield wipers are doing their best. One option for a driver is to pull off the road into a safe area until the thunderstorm loses some of its strength. A person should never try to drive across a flooded street even if it looks shallow. It only takes a few inches of water to pull a car off its wheels and into a flood.
Safe Driving in Extremely Sunny or Foggy Conditions
A new driver may figure that there are very few precautions for driving in sunny weather. That’s true, but the glare of the sun can sometimes prevent a driver from seeing the color of traffic lights or cars ahead. Missing the color of a traffic light can result in an accident. Quality sunglasses and the car’s sun visor can help reduce the glare of the sun.
Fog can become a threat to drivers especially in low-lying areas. Driving slow in a foggy area allows a driver more reaction time. Many people click on their ‘brights’ while driving in the fog. This doesn’t help to improve visibility for a driver. However, fog lamps are helpful while driving in a thick fog. If it’s possible, a driver may want to wait to make a car trip until the fog burns off later on in the morning.
By practicing these simple tips, a new driver can become accustomed to driving in bad weather conditions.
To learn more about auto driving in bad weather, please visit:
- Driving Tips for Snowy Roads
- Important Reminders for Driving in Snowy and Icy Weather Conditions
- Safe Driving Tips for Teens
- Precautions for Driving in Bad Weather
- Common Sense Reminders for Driving in Wintry Weather
- Suggestions for Driving in Rainy Conditions
- Tips on How to Drive Safely in the Rain
- Weather-Related Driving Tips and More
- Winter Driving Information
- Essential List of Reminders for Winter Driving
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