Driving Tips For Stormy Conditions
Driving in conditions that involve strong or heavy wind and rain may not seem like the most pressing safety concern for many drivers, but driving in any type of severe weather can significantly increase your risk of having an accident. Driving in bad weather requires concentration, so be sure to reduce any distractions by turning the radio down or turning off that phone to keep your attention on the road. Often, the best driving decision you can make is to stay off the road completely until the weather clears.
Driving in Heavy Winds
Strong wind can occur just about anywhere, but it is often more common in wide open spaces. Areas for concern also include highway overpasses, tunnels and ‘road cuts’ through mountainous areas that can act as funnels for wind.
The following tips can help keep you safe when you encounter heavy winds.
1. Anticipate gusts. Take special care when driving through areas prone to strong winds or when weather reports predict severe weather. Reduce your speed.
2. Notice larger vehicles. Be aware of large vehicles on the road such as trucks and buses. They are more susceptible to high winds and drivers may have difficulties staying in their lanes.
3. Keep a firm grip on the wheel. Keep both hands on the wheel in case the wind begins to move your vehicle, especially if you are driving a large vehicle. A sudden gust could push your vehicle towards oncoming traffic.
Driving in Heavy Rain
In addition to poor visibility that accompanies most heavy rain, drivers should be ready to protect themselves against hydroplaning. Hydroplaning can occur when a vehicle is traveling too fast in heavy rain conditions, causing the vehicle’s tyres to travel on a thin layer of water rather than grip the surface of the road.
This has the potential to make steering and braking difficult and could even lead to losing control of your vehicle.
Follow these tips to help you stay safe while driving in heavy rain.
1. Take your time. Make sure your vehicle is visible in bad weather, by turning on your hazzard lights. Slowing down is the only way to keep your vehicle from hydroplaning. Also remember that one of the most dangerous times to drive is soon after it begins to rain, as oils on the road make for slippery conditions. Wait for a few minutes, rather than rushing to your destination.
2. Turn your lights and fog lights on. This will help other vehicles see you, even in broad daylight.
3. Give other vehicles more space. Add 1-2 extra seconds of following time in the rain, which gives you and the cars behind you more time to react to traffic.