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Auto Safety: Domestic Driving in Bad Weather

Quite often, in spite of our reliance on meteorology reports, the weather can turn surprisingly nasty. Weather is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. This is usually because drivers are unprepared or unaccustomed to driving under such conditions. It is essential to learn in advance what to do while driving in different types of weather, as well as to know exactly how to do it. Browse through the following sections below to learn how to be prepared.

Rain

Before waiting for rainy weather to strike, make sure that front and back windshield wipers are always in good condition. If it begins to rain, turn on your lights and be careful not to speed. Donít follow other vehicles closely. Stay away from the sides of the road where large puddles tend to form. Drive carefully on curves to avoid hydroplaning (when the car slides on a sheet of water). If the rain is so heavy that it is almost impossible to see, pull over and turn on your emergency lights.

Floods

A flood can be quite alarming, especially if it happens quickly. The best thing to do is to avoid driving altogether. If there are only a couple of inches of water, drive slowly and carefully. If the water level reaches about six inches, it could cause cars to stop or slide. More than that could even make cars start to float or get carried away. During a flood, park the car and turn off the engine. Get out of the car and climb to safety in a high place such as a tree or a building rooftop.

Winter Storms

Winter storms bring a host of difficulties for drivers each year. This can range from low visibility, high winds, deep snow banks, snow drifts, and icy or cracked roads. Donít try to drive during a winter storm unless it is absolutely an emergency. It is much safer to stay indoors and weather it out. If you do have to drive, make sure the car is fully functioning and properly maintained. Pack an emergency kit including candles, food, warm clothing and blankets, and flares. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. While driving, always keep your lights on and drive slowly. Keep plenty of distance between yourself and other vehicles. Most importantly, donít brake suddenly, even if the car starts to skid.

Fog

In foggy conditions, the first thing to do is to turn on your fog lights. If there are many other cars around, donít turn on the high beams, since they make it hard for other drivers to see. Drive slowly and try to follow the road markings. Keep plenty of distance between cars. Avoid driving in unfamiliar areas. If the fog is too thick, pull over and turn on the emergency flasher lights.

Tornadoes

Never try to drive during a tornado, and more importantly, never try to out-drive a tornado. Instead, the best thing to do is to leave your car and seek shelter close-by. Keep in mind that a tornado can easily pick up a car and then drop it, so look for a place where you wonít be hit by falling debris.

Hurricanes

Hurricanes bring strong winds and very heavy rainfall. Drive extremely slowly and attempt to head indoors as soon as possible. If you spot a flooded area, take a detour instead of driving through it. Make sure to avoid driving over debris such as fallen electrical lines or large tree branches.

Thunderstorms

If there is a thunderstorm while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle until it subsides. Instead of continuing to drive, it is better to park in a sheltered area. Avoid touching any metal parts while inside. On the road, reduce your speed if the weather turns windy or rainy.


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Last updated: May 2, 2012.