The Texas Department of Transportation reported in 2020, every 57 seconds, an injury accident happened on state roadways. Such crashes can happen anytime, even without other vehicles present.
However, adverse weather conditions often are a factor. When it comes to bad weather, rain, fog and heavy winds can make driving hazardous. Understanding defensive tactics can enable your to stay safe despite weather issues.
Reducing your speed is essential when driving in bad weather. Slowing down gives you more time to react to changing road conditions, such as sudden rain showers or strong winds.
Increase following distance
Maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you is essential when roads conditions are not ideal. This extra space allows for additional reaction time and helps prevent rear-end collisions.
Use proper lighting
Ensure your vehicle’s lights are in good working order. In fog or heavy rain, use your low-beam headlights to improve visibility, but avoid using high beams as they can reflect off water droplets and reduce visibility further.
Stay alert and focused
Pay close attention to your surroundings and avoid distractions while driving in adverse conditions. Keep both hands on the wheel and minimize any non-essential activities inside the vehicle.
Avoid cruise control
It is best to avoid using cruise control in bad weather. Keeping direct control of your vehicle allows you to adjust your speed and react quickly to changing conditions.
Keep windows clear
Make sure your windshield and other windows are clean and free of condensation. Use your defroster and windshield wipers as needed to maintain visibility.
Use Turn Signals Early
Signal your intentions well in advance of any turns or lane changes, giving other drivers more time to react to your actions.
Watch for hydroplaning
In heavy rain, watch for signs of hydroplaning. If your vehicle starts to skid, gently ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want to go without sudden movements.
Maintain tire tread and pressure
Ensure your tires have adequate tread depth and are properly inflated. Good tire condition helps maintain traction on wet roads.
Plan ahead and stay informed
Check weather forecasts before your trip and consider delaying your journey if it reveals extreme weather conditions on the way. Stay informed about road closures, detours and updates from local authorities.
Remember that each type of adverse weather presents unique challenges, and adapting your driving style to match these conditions can keep you safe. By following these tips and exercising caution and good judgment, you can reduce the risks associated with driving in challenging weather conditions and arrive at your destination safely.