Last year, parts of the U.S. saw the coldest winter in 30 years. But if you thought that was cold, hang onto your long johns, because experts are predicting another record-breaker this year. If October’s early snow storms were any indication, it’s going to be a long one, too. With extreme weather comes extreme driving conditions accompanied by fender benders, pile-ups, roll-overs and other assorted car crashes. Experts say 24% of all car accidents happen during bad weather, including snow, ice, rain and fog. Day or night, adverse weather conditions can impact your visibility, stopping distance, road conditions and vehicle performance. Avoid accidents and keep your car insurance premiums low with these extreme weather driving tips.
- Get your car in tip-top condition before winter weather sets in. Seems like a no-brainer, but plenty of accidents results from vehicle malfunction. Keep your gas tank full, too. Nobody wants to be stranded on the side of the road when it’s 10 below.
- Slow down, people! Twenty-five percent of all bad-weather car crashes happen on wet pavement. Adjust your speed to allow for increased braking time and put extra distance between you and the car ahead. Need another reason to lighten up on the lead foot? Snow covers up potholes. Hit one and you could damage your car or even lose control of it.
- Conversely, driving too slow can create a hazard for other drivers. Try to maintain a steady speed that matches the other drivers around you.
- If possible, adjust your commute time when the weather outside is frightful. Leave earlier in the morning and stay a little later in the afternoon to avoid rush hour traffic. If you don’t have to go anywhere, stay home. You’ll be one less accident waiting to happen.
- Dirty slush, mud and salt thrown up from the road can impair your visibility. Keep your windshield washer reservoir full so you have plenty of solvent to clean off the crud. Wash off your headlamps and tail lights more frequently, too.
- Drive with your lights on when visibility is poor during the daytime. Some state laws, like California, even require it.
- When it’s foggy, turn on your low beams even if it’s daytime (high beams reflect light back at you). You want to see and be seen. Try to use the right edge of the road as your guide. Use your defroster and
windshield wipers to enhance visibility.
- Somebody else driving like a maniac? Let them pass you.
Be safe out there and arrive alive.