It doesn’t take much time on the road to realize that some people don’t know how to drive in bad weather. Whether it’s raining so hard that you can’t see more than a yard in front of your car, or there’s a sheet of ice coating the highway, these drivers always seem to make the wrong choices.
The next time you find yourself driving in inclement weather, make sure you don’t do these four things.
Image via Flickr by TranceMist
Check for Weather Updates
Since you’re driving in bad weather, you’re probably wondering what the rest of the day be like. Will you have to drive home in similar conditions or will things clear up by then?
Don’t give into the curiosity and check weather updates on your phone. Depending on how you interpret the numbers, distracted driving is potentially a bigger problem than drunk driving. It only takes a second for your driving conditions to change. If you’re not paying attention during that second, then you’re at a high risk of causing an accident.
Turn on Your Hazard Lights
While it may seem like a good idea to turn on your hazard lights while driving in hazardous conditions, the opposite is true. Blinking lights do not help other drivers see you. In fact, the lights can confuse other people on the road, since they often look like turn signals.
The police also don’t like people using their hazard lights because it signals to them there is an accident ahead. That could take time away from doing things that will make the roads safer. Some states think that driving with hazard lights on is such a bad idea that they have made it illegal.
Follow Other Cars Closely
Driving instructors say to keep three seconds between your car and the car in front of you. Therefore, if you’re driving at 25 mph, you should keep a buffer of about 111 feet. If you’re driving at 65 mph, then you should stay about 288 feet away.
While those are the appropriate distances under normal driving conditions, you should double the space during bad weather. By extending the distance between cars, you give yourself more time to react to emergencies. The longer distance also makes it easier for you to stop when the road is slick from rain, snow, or ice.
Change Lanes to Avoid Slow Drivers
Getting stuck behind a slow driver is a frustrating experience. Here you are trying to get to work, and this person is driving under the speed limit like the time doesn’t matter.
In normal circumstances, you would want to change lanes and get away from the other driver. When there’s bad weather, though, you should use more patience. Switching lanes quickly can greatly increase your risk of colliding with another vehicle or sliding off the road. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, just tolerate the pokey driver for a few miles.
It’s scary to think that people take driving for granted so much that they don’t change their habits in bad weather. By avoiding these actions, you can keep yourself and everyone else a little safer.