In an ideal world, driving wouldn’t just be easy, it would be safe as well. And while most modern cars have a multitude of safety features to help us get to and from destinations unscathed, the most important aspect of safe driving during bad weather is the person behind the wheel. Being a new driver or being the parent of a new driver means learning to be a safe driver. After the license, the education should continue on how to drive safely in severe weather. The following is information for when the harsh weather and driving mix.
When rainy weather takes over, following standard safe driving procedures are a must. Give yourself extra time, extra space and a slower pace when the rain comes. If you do find yourself hydroplaning (slide due to loss of traction), the first rule is not to panic. Don’t slam on the breaks or the gas. Instead calmly steer the car toward an open space and gently use the gas to help you keep up with traffic and hopefully avoid hitting another vehicle.
Snow on its own isn’t the worst bad weather driving condition, but when it starts to collect on the roads it can become a terrible driving experience. As with rain, going slow and leaving extra time and room to travel is the first step. Be sure to accelerate and brake slowly. Slamming on either of these will lead to slipping. If you can, avoid hills since traction will become a huge problem. If a hill is the only way to your destination, let inertia do the bulk of the work while gently adding gas until you can crest the hill.
Icy road conditions are usually the worst bad weather scenario to deal with. If you find yourself stuck having to drive in icy conditions do the basic steps of going slow, leaving time and room to get where you need to go. If you find yourself fish-tailing, steer into the slide and don’t try to over-correct. Over-correcting will cause your vehicle to start sliding the other direction. If possible, pull over somewhere safe and wait for the storm to either pass or local road maintenance to salt the roads.
In an ideal world, we’d all be able to stay home when there are troubled driving conditions. If you can’t stay home, be educated and be safe as you drive.