Driving Tips for Bad Weather
Driving Tips for Bad Weather
Fall is quickly approaching! We will soon be surrounded by shades of red and orange and the faint scent of pumpkin spice in the air. While many of us are excited for apple orchards and the first snowfall, bad weather is on the horizons. We have compiled a list of our favorite driving tips for bad weather to ensure you can withstand anything Mother Nature throws your way.
Driving in Fog
It seems like nearly every scary movie has a scene that takes place in the fog. Why is that? Because we can’t see. Even the best driver can find driving in the fog difficult. Thankfully, life doesn’t take place in the middle of a horror film. We may not have to look for serial killers or monsters, but we do need to stay mindful of cars or animals sharing the roadway. Here’s how:
Depending on how thick the fog may be, it can be challenging to see more than a few yards in front of you. This means you have less time to react to any obstacle in the roadway. You can quickly approach another car. If they are going significantly slower than you, you may not have time to brake. Even if you can see the car, that doesn’t mean you should follow closely. If for some reason the other car brakes quickly you’ll have enough time to react by keeping a safe distance.
Low Beams vs High Beams
You should always have your lights on when driving in the rain. This not only increases your own visibility, but also the visibility of your car to other drivers. It benefits everyone on the road to flip that switch. But did you know using your high beams can be more dangerous than no lights at all? High beams do not increase your visibility anymore than low beams and they blind the driver in front you. It’s just like when someone has their high beams on behind you at night. The glare in the rear-view mirror is distracting. Protect yourself and others – remember to use low beams only.
Follow the Leader
If you’re driving in the fog and haven’t seen many cars, it can be reassuring to finally see a fellow driver on the road. It’s tempting to keep your distance and follow them through the curves and straightaways. Like many other things in life, we can’t always rely on others. Keep your safety in your own hands. If you are unable to follow the road in front of you, use the right shoulder line to help guide you. Drive slowly and keep your eyes on the surroundings. This is a great alternative to following other drivers.
Cruise control is great when you are able to quickly respond to any obstacle that may pop up in your path. However, it may not be the best idea when driving in thick fog. Fog is easily formed in valleys and on curvy roads. With low visibility, you will not have enough time to react to an animal or other cars in your path. When it is foggy, animals are likely to linger in the middle of the road. Do yourself a favor and ditch the cruise control!
Driving in Rain
Remember when you were a kid and your mom would turn the radio down when it started raining? As kids, we never understood why, but as adults, we do the same thing! Driving in a severe rainstorm requires all of our focus and concentration. Here’s how you can do it:
Just like fog, rain can lower your visibility, especially in a heavy storm. The easiest way to ensure other drivers can easily spot you is to turn on your lights. In Tennessee, it is required by law to turn on your lights when it is raining. Also, you should always go below the speed limit when road conditions are wet, however, not everyone listens to this rule. Drivers who are going significantly faster than you will better see your car if you have your lights on.
Hands on Wheel
During a rainstorm, you should always have both hands on the wheel. You should not be texting, talking on the phone, or fiddling with the radio. You can be better prepared for hydroplaning by having both hands on the wheel. Hydroplaning occurs when the oil mixes with the rain on the road and creates a slippery surface. The first ten minutes of a rainstorm is when the risk of hydroplaning is highest.
Keep Your Distance
You can only control your own vehicle. You can be the most cautious driver, but another driver could still involve you in an accident. In order to decrease that risk, keep a safe distance between yourself and others. Other cars may hydroplane and this distance will give you enough time to respond and avoid being involved.
Change Your Habits
For many people, driving is second nature. We often take the same routes and don’t need to think of where to turn next. The problem is, when it rains, not all drivers adjust this robotic type of thinking. Be cautious of the choices you make regarding your speed and route choice. The weather is different so you should drive different.
Driving in Snow and Ice
Thankfully, Tennessee is a southern state and does not receive the same amount of snow and ice as northern states. According to the US Climate Data, Tennessee has an average of seven inches of snow each year. Northern states can easily get seven inches of snow overnight. There’s always an exception to a bright side and this is no different. Tennessee may not get much snow, but that just means the average driver isn’t experienced in driving in these conditions. Here’s what you need to know:
Slow and Steady
There’s no need for speed when there’s snow on the ground. Simple tasks like accelerating, braking, and even turning are not so simple when snow is mixed into the equation. It takes significantly longer for a car to be able to break. The faster you go the easier it is to start to slide. You want to maintain traction and be prepared for all stop signs and traffic lights.
You should not be going faster than the flow of traffic and need to weave in and out of lanes. Changing lanes can create a chain effect and cause an accident involving multiple vehicles. If you change lanes quickly and spin out of control, the cars behind you may not be able to stop since you cut them off. If you need to change lanes, be sure to use your turn signal and merge with plenty of space between you and other cars.
Braking is entirely different when there is snow or ice involved. Your car will be unable to brake quickly, so it’s important to start breaking long before the desired location. Since it is so hard to brake, avoid coming to a full stop where appropriate. If your car comes to a full stop in the snow you may struggle to accelerate. Slow down to almost a stop and then continue.
Protect Yourself and Your Car
Mother Nature pays no mind to the month or season. Bad weather can develop when we least expect it. Protect your home and auto for anything these upcoming months may throw your way. If you are interested in exploring coverage options that are specific to your needs and budget, fill out this form or call us at 615-964-5250 to speak with a top agent!