Adverse Weather Driving Tips
No matter where we live in the world making sure we keep ourselves and our loved ones safe when driving a vehicle is of utmost importance. When faced with the added possibility of having to drive in adverse weather conditions such as snow, ice, wind, fog and wet weather. We need to focus that much more on the journey ahead reminding ourselves to pay extra care and attention. If you intend to embark on such a journey this article offers up some Adverse Weather Driving Tips for you to consider.
Ideally driving in extremely adverse weather should be avoided unless your journey is essential. If you have no other choice and you have decided to drive in such conditions. The following Adverse Weather Driving Tips will help you to prepare and focus on getting safely from A to B.
Driving In Snowy And Icy weather Conditions
Always plan your journey and the route you intend to take before you leave. Remember to check both local and national weather forecasts for warnings of icy or snowy weather. It’s important to be aware of any snow and ice in your local area. You should also be aware of the weather conditions along your intended route and at your planned destination.
It’s also a good idea to have in mind some alternative routes in case your planned route is blocked.
As mentioned earlier if the forecasts warn of adverse snow and ice weather conditions. You should only drive in these conditions if your journey is absolutely necessary. If it is, you should make sure you focus on taking great care and allow extra time for your journey.
Before You Set Off
Make sure you take a Winter Emergency Vehicle Survival Kit with you in case you get stranded or your vehicle breaks down. Your kit should contain some essential emergency items like an ice scraper, flashlight, warm clothing and boots, first aid kit, a shovel. In addition to this pack a warm drink, water, and emergency food.
Before driving your vehicle make sure you do the following:
- Clear snow and ice from all of your windows so that you have good visibility for when you are driving.
- Remove any snow from your vehicle that might fall off into the path of other road users.
- Remove any snow from your headlights and tail lights before setting off.
- Make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are defrosted/ demisted thoroughly.
- Make sure your windshield/windscreen is completely clear.
Driving Your Vehicle In Snowy And Icy Weather
Always drive your vehicle extremely carefully when the roads are snowy or icy. Even if the roads have been cleared or treated. Here are some Adverse Weather Driving Tips to pay attention to when driving in snowy and icy conditions:
- Always listen to weather and travel news updates before and whilst on your journey.
- If your vehicle does not have a radio fitted, take an emergency radio with you on your journey.
- Look out for temporary road signs that provide information about weather, road and traffic conditions ahead.
- Be prepared for the road conditions ahead to change quickly over relatively short distances.
- Stay well back from the road user in front of you, stopping distances can be ten times greater in snow and ice compared to driving on dry roads.
- Look out for snowplows that could throw out snow on either side and don’t overtake them unless the lane you intend to use has been cleared.
- If your vehicle steering feels unresponsive this can be an indication that your vehicle is losing its grip due to ice on the road.
- When the roads are snowy and icy avoid sudden actions as these could cause loss of control.
- Drive at slower speeds in as high a gear as possible and remember to accelerate and brake very gently.
- Reduce your speed and drive slowly on bends where loss of vehicle control is more likely to occur.
- Brake progressively to reduce speed on the straight before you reach a bend itself.
- Steer smoothly when driving round bends and avoid any sudden actions.
Driving In Windy Weather Conditions
Although the windy weather will normally have a greater effect on driving conditions for higher sided vehicles. Strong gusts of wind can also blow a smaller vehicle over. This can happen when driving on open stretches of road that are exposed to strong crosswinds.
In extremely, windy weather conditions your vehicle may also be affected by turbulence created by large vehicles. So keep well back from them when they are overtaking you.
If the wind picks up or you are hit by strong gusts of wind, reduce your speed and adjust your steering to compensate.
Driving In Wet Weather Conditions
When driving in wet weather your vehicle’s tires will have reduced grip. So your vehicles stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on normal dry roads.
To increase your ability to see ahead and react in time you should keep well back from the vehicle in front of you.
If you are driving in adverse wet weather conditions and the steering of your vehicle becomes unresponsive. It is likely that surface water is stopping the tires from gripping the road. Ease off the gas or accelerator pedal and slow down gradually.
Be aware that the rain and spray from other vehicles can reduce visibility for you and other road users.
Keep an eye out for any areas where fuel or diesel could have been spilled onto a road surface. Avoid or be careful when driving through such areas as the surface will be very slippery.
Driving In The Fog
Often fog can sneak up on you, one minute the road ahead is clear then suddenly fog can drift in. Sometimes the fog can seem to be clearing, then suddenly turns into even thicker fog.
When driving in the fog your visibility will be greatly reduced so you should always:
- Reduce your speed to allow enough reaction time for avoiding any hazards ahead.
- Turn on your vehicle’s lights.
- Use the fog lights if equipped.
- Look out for other road users who have not turned on their lights.
- Use your windshield/windscreen wipers and defrosters/ demisters.
- Keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front.
- Never accelerate to get away from a vehicle which is too close behind you.
- Always check your mirrors before you slow down.
- If the fog becomes too thick and you lose visibility. Pull off the road to a safe location away from other road users. Wait until the fog lifts and visibility improves before heading off again.
Adverse Weather Driving Tips – Conclusion
Driving in extremely adverse weather can lead to both unpredictable and dangerous situations. Unless your journey is essential and you have no other option you should avoid doing so. If you have no other choice and you have decided to drive in such conditions. Then remember that the safety of you and your family comes first.
Plan ahead of your journey paying attention to weather forecasts and make sure you carry a vehicle emergency kit.
For more Adverse Weather Driving Tips have a look at the links provided in the recommended reading section below.