Driving in Inclement Weather; Winter, Rain, Fog
VIDEO AVAILABLE ON OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL [HERE]
Depending in when you got your drivers license you may or may not remember the tips your state has given you in regards to driving in bad weather.
[CLICK HERE for PA DRIVER’S MANUAL provided by PENNDOT. CLICK HERE for the AUDIO VERSION]
Living in Pennsylvania or any other state lucky enough to have all four seasons sometimes you have to “deal” with road conditions which are less than ideal for driving. So, we have developed a list of tips to help you bear the cold, rain, snow, ice and even hail.
PREPARE – The main thing to do is PREPARE no matter what season it is. You never know when a big storm is coming through or weather change is about to happen so pay attention to the weather in your area. (look for our other VIDEOS on emergency supplies to keep in your vehicle)
- CHECK the local WEATHER station and news for any road closings, alerts and changing weather conditions.
- STOCK YOUR VEHICLE with little “extras” you may need if you get stuck somewhere. (see our other videos for suggestions)
- Make sure your vehicle is in good, running condition. (see our other videos for suggestions)
- LEAVE EARLY and DROP YOUR SPEED by 10 MPH. If that speed still feels unsafe drop another 5MPH until you do feel safe and in control.
- REMEMBER: Use your four way flashers when driving 10 MPH below the posted speed limit. WHY? Because other drivers approaching you from behind will not know you are possibly driving much slower than they are and it can cause a rear end collision. Flashers let them know to SLOW DOWN so they won’t hit you!
COLD – Roadway water can freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature was 15 degrees F yesterday and today it’s going to be 40 degrees F the roadway can still be at freezing temperatures. So, if it is raining or the roads are still wet BE AWARE and watch out for black ice, icy roads and bridges.
RAIN – Rain Shmain right? Well, sometimes rain can come down quit heavy and impair your vision while driving. If you have your wipers on FAST and you still can’t see out the windshield it’s probably time to pull over to a safe place and wait for the rain to slow down.
Another hazard on wet roadways is the possibility of HYDROPLANING. That’s when your vehicle’s tires no longer grip the roadway and “skip” over the water like a pool floaty.
What do you do if THAT happens? It’s different for each situation but you can start by SLOWING DOWN. NO RAPID or FAST CORRECTIONS IE Stomping on your breaks and wrenching your steering wheel. Just ease your foot off the gas, GENTLY steer the vehicle in the direction you want it to go and CAREFULLY brake if you have not stopped hydroplaning. Once you have stopped “skidding” you may want to adjust your driving speed if you continue your trip.
HAIL – During some heavy storms HAIL can be produced in various sizes from tiny to the size of softballs. No matter what the size of the hail you need to remember HAIL is ICE and so if it accumulates enough on the roadway it will be like DRIVING ON ICE. Therefore, you have to adjust your driving accordingly.
TIP: If hail becomes too large for your comfort level try finding a safe place to pull over under a covering. Along side the highway under the trees is ok but remember you are in a STORM and the wind can knock down trees and lightning can strike them too so choose where you pull over very carefully.
SNOW – Whether it is just a “dusting” of snow or you have to drive in a few inches on the roadway driving in snow can be tricky. If you do NOT feel comfortable driving in the amount or type of snow that is on the roadway then it’s best to stay home.
If you must travel in these conditions use extreme caution and be careful when using your breaks. Most vehicles have “anit-lock” brakes but that alone will not protect you if your vehicle goes sliding and YES you can slide off the roadway even if your vehicle is perfectly still or even parked. Driving slowly will help get better control over your vehicle and it also gives you a bit more time to be AWARE of your surroundings. IE: Other vehicles on the road, road signs, speed limit signs, pedestrians, traffic lights, etc.. DO NOT EVER STOMP ON YOUR GAS PEDAL ON SNOWY OR ICY ROADS. It won’t end well.
- AVOID HILLS and EXTREME CURVES. Plan your route so you can avoid them.
- STEER INTO A SKID and NO OVER CORRECTING YOUR STEERING.
- Again, if you do not feel safe… don’t drive.