Make Driving in Inclement Weather Safer and Less Frightful
A frosty chill in the morning air. Dark clouds on the horizon. A tingly feeling in your bones. Whatever the signal, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know that before some snarky storms soon will be heading your way.
When the weather outside turns frightful, driving is anything but delightful. Rain, snow, sleet and fog all affect road conditions, visibility and the performance of drivers and their vehicles. Luckily, there are some time-tested tactics you can take to keep yourself safe behind the wheel during inclement weather.
Slow, slower, slowest = good, better, best. Poor visibility, slippery roads and impatient drivers are a bad combination that often causes accidents. Allow plenty of extra time to get where to you’re going, and plenty of space between your car and the one in front of you.
Lights, please. They not only improve your vision, but also help other drivers see your vehicle. If you’re driving in a fog (physical, not mental), use your low-beam headlights—even in the daytime. Also, whenever you use your windshield wipers, keep your headlights on (it’s the law in some states, so this will ensure you don’t get a ticket).
Tips to know when caught in snow. Clear your car of ice and snow before you get inside—and don’t forget to wipe off the hood, headlights and taillights. Be especially careful when driving on bridges and overpasses, which typically freeze first, and never pass snow plows or trucks. Also, avoid sudden stops and brake gently. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself three times more distance when stopping than you would under normal conditions.
Pea soup pointers. Dense fog calls for extreme caution. Turn on your defroster and windshield wipers and slow down to a crawl. Open your window so you can at least hear traffic and any sounds that might alert you to trouble ahead. If the soup gets so thick you can’t see more than a few feet in front of your car, pull onto the shoulder. When stopped, be sure to turn on your four-way hazard lights as a warning to other drivers.
Beware of dangers below and above the ground. Avoid puddles, which could be camouflaging huge potholes. When flooding occurs, don't drive through water—it only has to be six inches deep to reach the bottom of most passenger cars. If there’s lightning in the area, stay inside your car.
When in doubt, stay home! This anti-driving tip might be the best advice of all, especially if the weather is the lead story on your local newscasts. Everyone wants to follow-through on their daily plans, but you can always go to the store another day or reschedule your child’s piano lessons.
Interested in learning more about how to drive safely in bad weather? This video has some helpful tips. Remember, for the best way to experience that record-breaking snowfall, look out the window of your home, not your car. Watching your kids build their forts and snowmen? Now that’s delightful!
Content provided by George Palatine, Allstate Auto Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL
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