5 Tips for Adverse Weather Driving
If you’re faced with unexpected weather conditions such as hail, sleet or torrential rain, it’s important to always take a defense stance. Here are some defensive tips that will keep you and your vehicle safe.
1. Safety first: Prior to leaving on your trip, make sure to review weather reports to identify potential adverse conditions you may encounter. Do not embark if there is a reasonable chance you’ll need to shut down on route. Remember to always pull off the roadway and shut down your vehicle in a safe area if the conditions dictate. Putting safety first means that you’re not putting yourself and others on the road in danger. Furthermore, always ensure that you are alert and your vehicle is in good enough condition to continue driving.
2. Prepare your vehicle for storm season: Don’t wait until the first sign of bad weather to inspect your: battery, belts, hoses, radiator, oil, lights, brakes, tires, exhaust system, header/defroster, wipers and ignition system.
Here is a list of items to consistently check during storm season:
- Inspect your tires every time you refuel. Look for bulges and tread wear. Be aware that tire pressure decreases in cold weather.
- Keep your fuel tank at sufficient levels in case you need to make it to a safe haven and to avoid issues with frozen fuel systems.
- Check that your windshield washer fluid is filled.
- Have emergency supplies such as triangles, jumper cables, food and water.
- Make sure all windows and mirrors are clean, visible and defogged before departing.
- Clear snow, ice and other debris from roof, hood and lights.
3. Adjust your speed to the conditions: The slicker the conditions, the slower you need to drive to enable your tires to retain firm contact with the road at all times. Increased speeds can cause hydroplaning and greatly lengthen required stopping distances. If you expect poor weather conditions, give yourself more time to get to your destination.
4. Allow enough space between you and the car in front of you: If the road is slick or covered with snow, ensure that there’s enough room and time to brake or get out of the way. Allowing yourself the appropriate space can be the difference between sliding to the shoulder and having a critical crash. Also be aware of the vehicles around you; knowing where vehicles are can be important if you decide to turn to avoid an accident.
5. Use your lights and wipers: Ensure you periodically check your headlights to ensure they are in good working order. Driving with one or no headlights or taillights can be detrimental when other drivers are struggling to see through rain, sleet or hail. Turning on your headlights, even if there is only a few droplets of rain, is a basic way to stay safe. For heavy fog conditions, never use your bright lights and turn on fog lights if your car is so equipped.
In cases of torrential rain and high winds, stop your car in a safe area away from trees and powerlines. Do not drive through standing water if you do not know the depth. Staying in your car if you see lightning provides better protection than being out in the open. Whenever possible, exit your vehicle and move indoors to a safe location. If there are no buildings nearby, position yourself under a bridge, in a ditch or near a concrete structure whenever possible.
Tia Chisholm, HUB International TRANSPORTATION
HUB International TRANSPORTATION specialists are based in Vancouver. Our longstanding relationships with the best providers in the business allow us to deliver the solution that serve you best. With HUB, you can run your business knowing that you are headed in the right direction.