Saturday, July 20, 2024

Brace Yourself for Unpredictable Weather with These Driving Tips

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Winter can bring unpredictable weather changes, which can cause stress and panic if you are unprepared. Some good tips to brace for the winter include downloading accurate weather apps and familiarizing yourself on what to do when driving over black ice.

Download a Good Weather App

Although weather in the winter can be unpredictable, you can still do your best to stay aware. Download a trusted weather app such as The Weather Channel or Flowx and turn on the notifications for your area. Before you head out onto the road, check the radar and the forecast so you know what’s in store for your drive.

Tune in the Radio

If you’re driving and suspect that bad weather might be imminent, tune into the local weather and traffic station to be alert to what might be lying ahead. Make sure you know what station it is (it’s sometimes an AM station) and program it into your radio so it’s easily accessed.

Encountering Black Ice

Most people would agree that driving over black ice is one of the most frightening experiences. Suddenly, you realize you’ve lost control of your vehicle, and panic easily sets in. The last thing you want to do is have an overreaction such as slamming on the brakes or jolting the steering wheel. First, try to remain calm, don’t hit the brakes and keep your steering wheel pointed in the same direction you were going when you hit the black ice. The rule of thumb is: do as little as possible and before you know it, you’ll regain control. Black ice doesn’t generally stretch for longer than 20 feet, so it’s very possible to glide over it without incident.

Hydroplaning

Rain and sleet can cause your vehicle to hydroplane, which is another situation where you lose control. As when you encounter black ice, you don’t want to panic. Take your foot off of the accelerator entirely, don’t press on the brakes, and gently steer in the same direction you were going before you were hydroplaning. The driver will feel when the tires have reconnected with the roadway.

Keep Windshield Washer Fluid Filled

One of the worst things that can happen during a sleet event or snowstorm is to run out of windshield washer fluid. The windshield can suddenly become entrenched in ice or snow and limit the driver’s ability to see. Even with the windshield wipers working, precipitation takes hold of the glass and limits visibility. Make sure the washer fluid reservoir is filled and keep an extra gallon of the fluid with you in the car, just in case.

Slow Down

Even the most skilled driver must take it slow in adverse weather conditions. Driving in snow, rain, fog or even at night poses serious visibility issues. It takes more time to react to a situation, such as a deer running out into the road or a car stopping suddenly in front of you. Plus, when the road is wet, snowy or slippery, your car will not behave the same way it does in ideal conditions. Slowing down makes sense so you keep you, your passengers, and other drivers safe.

Driving in Fog

Every year we hear about multi-car pileups that occurred due to overly foggy conditions. Driving through fog is really no joke; you are nearly literally driving blind.

  • Fight the urge to speed up.Believe it or not, many people actually speed up in fog because they perceive themselves to be moving slowly. Look down at the speedometer now and again to make sure you aren’t driving too fast.
  • Slow down.It might be difficult to do this because driving through fog feels like a life or death situation, and you just want to get out of it. However, if the fog is quite dense, and you literally can’t see more than 10 feet in front of you, you’ll want to have ample time to apply brakes if something appears in the road – like a stop sign, a stopped car or an animal.
  • Turn on your headlights.Don’t worry, you aren’t blinding other drivers. At this point, when fog is dense enough to turn on your lights, it is so other drivers can see you, and that’s an important element in avoiding a crash.

Knowing what to do in unpredictable weather is the first step toward getting through it safely. You might experience these things a hundred times and never get used to them and that’s okay, as long as you know the proper procedures and process, you’ll feel more confidence in driving safely this winter.

And making sure you have the correct amount of car insurance is a must, just in case something unfortunate happens. Remember that obtaining the cheapest car insurance that also meets your needs will make you feel safe and secure during this tricky season.

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