Driving 101: Adjusting to Road Conditions

winter-drivingTwo weeks ago we had snow and ice on Nashville area roads.  This past week we have had rain.  The one thing that you will notice about driving – nothing changes.  People will drive the same without regard to the road conditions.  You will also look at the map and see traffic accidents lighting up the roads.  Why?  Most drivers are arrogant and think they can drive in any condition.  I have yet to see any vehicles with skis on the roads.  You can’t rely on rubber tires to make you invincible.

Does anyone really know the rules about driving in these weather conditions?

Here are some tips:

  • Slow down (yeah, you see this one showing up in any of my Driving 101 entries)
  • Turn on lights and wipers
  • Increase following distance to four seconds
  • Avoid puddles
  • Beware of misty rain even when it stop raining
  • Be prepared to handle a skid safely
  • Beware of icy patches or black ice

Skidding or hydroplaning is always possible when the roads are slick.  Here is what you are to do:

  1. Don’t slam on your brakes.  Braking triggers slides and makes it worse.
  2. Turn into the slide.  Turn your wheels in the direction the back of the vehicle is sliding.
  3. Don’t panic or overcorrect.

Above all, the main point to remember is:  SLOW DOWN.   Adjust your speed to safely match the weather conditions, road conditions, visibility and traffic flow.  Excessive driving speed in bad road conditions increase the chances for fatal crashes to 25 percent more than in normal road conditions.

When the conditions are not ideal, adjust to those conditions.  Give yourself time to stop and more time to respond to what you see ahead of you.  Assume nothing.  Arrive safely.




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