Severe Weather Driving Tips

If you live between Colorado and Maine, chances are you’re one of the 100 million Americans bracing for the “monster storm” expected to bury the nation in snow, ice, and sleet.  If you live anywhere else in the nation, chances are you’re bracing for how this severe weather might affect Sunday’s Super Bowl in Dallas.  Whichever group you fall into, everyone can agree the best place to be during severe weather is warm and indoors.  But sometimes it’s necessary to drive, even in a “monster storm.”

If you have to go out in bad weather, remember that weather changes road conditions.  Even light weather can affect visibility and your vehicle’s handling, which could increase the risk of an accident.  A good rule of thumb in all weather scenarios is to turn on your low-beam headlights and slow down to give yourself time to react to potential hazards.  Here are some other tips to keep you safe on the road:

Driving in the Snow

  • Keep your windows clear of snow and ice, even if you have to occasionally stop and wipe down the car.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding, easing off the brake if the wheels start to lock.  Remember, antilock brakes require constant, firm pressure to the pedal, while non-antilock brakes will need to be pumped during a skid.
  • Be especially careful on overpasses, bridges, and seldom-used roads, as they will freeze first.
  • Don’t pass snow plows or sanding trucks.  Their drivers may have trouble seeing you, and the road in front of them will be tougher for you to travel.
  • If your car gets stuck in the snow, straighten the wheels and accelerate slowly.  Try not to spin the tires.

Driving in the Rain

  • Turn on your defroster and windshield wipers.
  • Stay toward the middle lanes, which tend to be less flooded.
  • If streets are flooded, avoid puddles that could conceal potholes.  Also avoid driving through flooded areas; it only taxes 6 inches of water to reach the bottom of most passenger cars and potentially stall them or sweep them away.
  • Drive in the tracks of the car ahead of you to minimize the potential to hydroplane.
  • If your car begins to hydroplane, the tires have lost traction with the road and are riding on top of the water.  Remembering what happens when your car hydroplanes is key to remembering how to respond to it, because it may go against your instincts.  Do not brake or steer—instead, stop accelerating until you feel your car’s tires touch back on the road.
  • If rain, wind, or lightning severely limit visibility, pull off the road, well out of the traffic lanes, and wait for visibility to improve.

Driving in the Fog

  • Turn on your defroster and windshield wipers.
  • Open the window to listen for any traffic you can’t see.
  • Stay to the right of the roadway.  If you can’t see the road’s edge, pull off the road, completely away from the traffic lanes, and turn on your hazard lights.  Wait for visibility to improve before you continue driving.

As staying off the road is the only sure way to avoid a bad weather accident, even the most alert drivers can find themselves involved in a traffic collision.  If that happens, trust the auto accident attorneys at Hornberger & Brewer to help you through this delicate time.  We understand an auto accident can be an upsetting experience, and you may feel nervous or confused about the next steps to take.  Our professional staff will guide you through the aftermath of your auto accident and help you proceed through the process.  We’ll work hard to earn the compensation you’re entitled to receive.

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