Deana Ford — Depending on the region you live in, you might be used to driving in severe weather conditions. Whether you find yourself forced to drive in rain, snow, or fog, or an even more extreme weather occurrence, you might find that the way you approach bad weather driving could be wrong or outdated. The first rule of bad weather driving is “don’t do it” – if it is at all possible for you to stay home. But in many areas, weather conditions can be so frequent that you can’t avoid them. To avoid accidents, it’s important to know the facts about the weather forecast and your car.
Driving in Rain
- Sunglasses increase visibility – but only if they have polarized lenses. Then you can reduce glare; polarized lenses are designed to reduce the reflective properties of water.
- Turn off the air conditioner if it gets too heavy. This one isn’t a myth – older cars operate from a central fan; and in newer cars, you could risk electrical damage.
- Your car can float in less than a foot of water. Also, the water you see flooding underpasses and streets can be hiding other dangers such as potholes or debris – all reasons to avoid driving through it.
- Don’t drive past your visibility. The number one reason for driving slower in the rain is that you don’t want to go speeding into areas that you can’t see.
Driving in Ice and Snow
- Some people believe ice is a visible hazard – but this is often not the case. Thin, patchy ice that blends with the wet road is the cause of most serious accidents.
- Be overly cautious on bridges; they’re usually the first thing to freeze.
- Despite what you’ve heard, don’t steer into a skid. Instead, steer gently in the direction you want to go.
- When there’s the threat of black ice, do everything possible to stay home. You can lose control in black ice even at the slowest speeds, and it’s one of the deadliest road hazards.
Driving in Other Weather Conditions
- When it’s foggy, use your low beams; high beams will reflect off the fog and further reduce your visibility.
- Never try and outrun a tornado in a car. A car can be damaged by even a small tornado and a house or cellar is a much safer bet.
- Being in a car during a lightning storm is safer than being in most places because the metal of the car acts like a conductor. However, if the car is in motion, the lightning will probably interfere with the car’s electrical systems.
- If you’re driving when an earthquake hits, the most important thing to remember is to drive away from anything that could collapse – buildings, trees, and wires. After that, wait in your car.
In the event of a weather-related accident or vehicle damage, it is important to look into what your auto insurance covers. But avoiding mishaps is usually the number one priority for people who drive in regions commonly affected by rain and snow. It’s always worth it to do a little bit of research in order to keep your family safe.
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