While it’s better to avoid driving at all in inclimate weather, that’s just not always possible. When the time comes for you to head out onto those snowy, rainy or icy roads, make sure that you have the proper equipment and, most importantly, that you proceed with caution. Taking the right approach when driving in poor conditions will make you much safer and help prevent serious accidents.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Consider getting summer tires during the warmer months and snow tires in the cold ones. Tires designed for specific temperatures grab the surface better versus all-weather tires.
When driving in snow consider adding a set of chains to your tires to help you avoid too much slipping, or keep the chains in your trunk at the very least.
Keep a Comprehensive Safety Kit in Your Vehicle
Maintain a safety kit with jumper cables, blankets, flares, lights, extra clothing, and gloves to help you deal with unexpected situations if they arise. Also, consider keeping some basic tools in the back of your vehicle to help you fix minor problems. During the hot months, it’s also important to carry around extra water, in case the vehicle becomes stranded, and you or your pets need a drink.
When the conditions get bad, don’t be afraid to slow down. Other drivers that are in a hurry could end up avoiding an accident because of your caution, even if they grow irritated with having to drive behind you.
Travel slowly enough to avoid slipping in wet or snowy conditions, and slowly enough to safely see obstacles up ahead in extreme fog. If you feel out of control or in danger, you are traveling too quickly. Slow things down and you’ll help safeguard yourself and other drivers out on the road.
When the roads are bad, and you have to be somewhere at a particular time, leave earlier to give yourself time to be cautious. Give yourself twice as much time to make the trip, and you should be able to drive carefully the whole way.
Test Before You Drive
Always get out and check the road conditions in an unoccupied area when the roads aren’t great. Perform a quick stop to evaluate how much you’ll slide and how much space you really need. Use the results of your test to help you maintain a safe speed and distance from all the other vehicles on the road. If you can’t maintain control of your vehicle during the test, consider staying home rather than going out. Your safety should come first, no matter how important getting on the road seems at the moment.
It’s best to stay home when the roads become too hazardous, but if you must venture out, make sure that you take every precaution that you can. Drive more slowly than you think you need to. This way, you’ll avoid problems that could, at the least, ruin your day or could land you in an accident. Being a little late to the office is much better than being stuck in a ditch, or running into a tree or another driver.