Inclement weather can make your drive unpleasant. More importantly, though, it can make your drive truly dangerous. The question is, what can you do to maintain the highest standards of safety, even when you drive through heavy wind or heavy rain?
The obvious answer? Don’t do it. If you can avoid getting out in the extreme elements, do so. But if you absolutely must drive somewhere in a storm—or if you’re out driving and a storm catches you off guard—it’s important to adapt to this unfavorable weather.
Driving in Heavy Wind
Wind can seem like a fairly minor danger, but when those gusts are big and powerful, they can sometimes cause your vehicle to swerve, or make handling more of a challenge. Some tips:
- Be aware of where strong winds occur. Heavy gusts are most common in wide open spaces, but you should also be wary in highway overpasses and tunnels.
- Anticipate big gusts. Keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on what you’re doing; be ready to wrestle with any really major winds that come your way.
- Look out for big vehicles. Larger automobiles, including big trucks, are more prone to being batted around by the wind. Sometimes, they have a harder time staying in their lane. Try to avoid being too close to these larger vehicles.
Driving in a Downpour
Heavy rain can also be dangerous, and for a few different reasons. It inhibits visibility, and it can also make the roads slippery. Hydroplaning becomes a big concern, and simply keeping your car on the road may seem challenging. Here are some tips to stay safe when driving through heavy rain:
- Slow down! You really need to take your time and decrease your speed. That’s the only way to avoid hydroplaning.
- Wait a few minutes. Roads are most dangerous right after a big rain, when oils on the roadway cause slipperiness. If you can delay your travels for a few minutes, that’s really ideal.
- Turn your lights on. Even if it’s broad daylight, you should always have your headlights on in the rain.
- Allow for more following time. Give the vehicles around you a little more space; try to allow an extra one or two seconds of reaction time for the other drivers on the road.
Stay Safe, No Matter the Weather
No matter the elements, it’s always important to be fully engaged with your driving—to keep both hands on the wheel, and to remove any and all distractions. When the weather takes a bad turn, this is especially critical. Make sure you’re practicing these safe driving techniques in any kind of major storm.