7 Key Tips for Safe Driving in Bad Weather

December 9, 2019
Dig Dev

Driving a motor vehicle requires your complete attention. Bad weather makes your job even more challenging. Even if you momentarily lose focus at the wheel, the chances of you being involved in an accident will increase. There are plenty of ways to improve you safe driving habits, including having your vehicle inspected by an experienced auto repair technician. Here are a few tips for handling inclement weather.

1. Reduce Your Speed

When the weather starts to turn bad, your best bet is to slow down. Driving fast always makes it harder for drivers to react to unexpected road hazards. Because wet pavement reduces traction, you won’t be able to stop as quickly during emergency situations. To be on the safe driving side, it’s probably a good idea to drive 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

2. Watch Out for Black Ice

According to highway safe driving experts, black ice is especially dangerous to drive on. The crystal-clear glaze of black ice makes it virtually invisible on the street. Upon hitting a patch of frozen water, you need to know what to do.

Resist your temptation to hit the brakes. Doing so could cause your vehicle to suddenly spin out of control. Instead, ease off the accelerator while keeping the steering wheel straight. Be especially careful when approaching curves. It’s also best to avoid using cruise control on frozen roads.

3. Avoid Tailgating

Far too many drivers make the mistake of tailgating. Following too closely behind another vehicle is a recipe for disaster. In the event that the other motorist comes to an abrupt stop, you may not be able to brake in time to avoid a collision.

Always remain a safe driving distance away. This is especially true during adverse weather conditions. If you can’t see the rear tires of the car ahead, there’s a good chance you’re too close.

4. Properly Maintain Your Vehicle

Don’t overlook the importance of servicing your vehicle regularly. Maintenance directly influences the safe driving ability of your vehicle. Replacing your windshield wiper blades yearly can make a big difference. During an intense storm, the performance of your wipers is critical.

It’s just as important to replace your tires before they become slick. Worn tires negatively impact traction, handling, and braking. To ensure that your tires can properly grip the road, have them inspected by a mechanic. Abnormal wear typically indicates the need for a wheel alignment.

5. Stay Prepared for an Unexpected Breakdown

While on the road, even the most reliable vehicle can experience an unanticipated problem. A flat tire will ultimately force you to pull over on the side of the road. Experiencing a breakdown in the middle of winter can be especially stressful. Nevertheless, preparing for the worse ahead of time will help you to maintain your safe driving habits best.

Essentials to keep in your vehicle include snacks that won’t spoil, some bottles of water, blankets, and a fully charged cellphone. If you do happen to experience a breakdown, turn on your emergency flashers and wait until help arrives.

6. Turn On Your Headlights

While driving through the rain and snow, remember to turn on your low-beam headlights. It’ll make your vehicle far more noticeable to other motorists. When your wipers are in use, North Carolina law actually requires drivers to turn on their headlights.

Plastic headlight covers are prone to becoming foggy over time. And that is definitely a safe driving issue. Luckily, you don't have to buy new headlights. For a far less expensive cost, an auto repair technician can professionally clean your headlight covers to ensure optimum brightness.

7. Keep an Eye Out for Reckless Drivers

Although you may be a careful driver, not everyone has the same commitment to safe driving. Always steer clear of motorists who are driving erratically, especially during questionable weather.