Driving on the highway in bad weather

How to Drive in Bad Weather

Bad weather can strike at any time during any season and you might just be on the road when that happens. That’s why it’s important to take driving safety seriously. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), roughly 21% of vehicle crashes are weather related. The leading weather-related events to cause an accident were, in order of most dangerous: wet pavement, rain, snow/sleet, icy pavement, snow/slushy pavement, and fog. Wet pavement accounts for an astonishing 70% of weather-related car accidents.

10 Tips for Driving in Bad Weather

Regardless of the type of weather, there are a few basic safety measures you can take to ensure you get to your destination safely:

  • Avoid tailgating. On the highway, maintain about 300 feet of distance between you and the car ahead of you. This gives you room to stop in case the driver brakes suddenly. 
  • Go slower. It’s best to reduce your speed by about 10 miles per hour below the speed limit so you are more able to react quickly to anything that happens ahead of you as a result of the weather.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. You never know what you’ll encounter on the roads when the weather is bad. You want to ensure your drive is smooth and stress free. Allow yourself more time than usual to get to your destination.

If at all possible, it’s best to postpone your drive until the rain has stopped. If you have to drive during rain, here are some tips to keep you safe:

  • Turn on your lights. Not only will lights help you see better in the rain, but other cars will be able to see you better as well.
  • Turn on your windshield wipers: Windshield wipers will help keep your windshield clear of rain, allowing you to see what’s in front of you.
  • Turn off cruise control. You need to be in full control of your vehicle during wet weather. Small speed adjustments may need to be made, and you cannot do that if cruise control is engaged.
  • Keep your tires maintained. Tires need to be well inflated and have deep thread to provide the traction needed to prevent hydroplaning on wet roads.
  • Avoid braking hard. Give yourself plenty of room to slow down by allowing as much space as possible between you and the vehicle in front of you. Applying the brakes too hard may cause your car to skid.
  • Defog those windshields. Rain can cause your windshields to quickly fog up, making it hard to see. Turn on your front and rear defrosters to keep your windows clear.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. If you see water on the road, don’t drive into it. It only takes 12 inches of rushing water to carry away most cars.

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Stay safe – Check the weather

Weather can sometimes be unpredictable, but checking the forecast before you get on the road can go a long way in keeping you safe. Use your favorite app, tune in to your local news station, or check out the National Weather Service for up-to-date weather information. If you do wind up driving in bad weather, don’t forget to take it slow and don’t follow the car in front of you too closely.