When driving long distances, it’s not at all uncommon to hit the road in the sunshine and find yourself in the midst of horrible weather just a couple hours later. In just one day of driving you could encounter a wide range of weather conditions that could vary wildly. You could start your day with dense fog that gives way to sunshine that is interrupted by a thunderstorm which transforms into snow showers.
It could happen! Don’t let inclement weather catch you off guard. Here are some safety tips to help you through any kind of weather:
- Slow down. Even if you don’t think the roads are icy, it’s worth going just a little slower to protect yourself, fellow drivers, and your haul. This will give you more time to react should something occur.
- Give extra space. Remember your heavy load and the extra time you’ll need to brake. This is basic driving safety, but in poor weather conditions exaggerate the space between you and the car ahead.
- Understand black ice. Sometimes this sheet of ice can seem impossible to see, but you can be aware of where it might be even if you can’t see it. Bridges are especially susceptible, as well as at intersections and in shadowed areas. Give yourself a minimum of a couple hundred feet to come to a stop at intersections, and slow down considerably before crossing a bridge.
- Brake and accelerate with care. In slippery conditions, you never want to be forceful about speeding up or slowing down. Pump your brakes gently to avoid locking your tires and spinning out of control.
- Stay calm. If you begin to skid, let off the brake and the accelerator and gently turn into it. If necessary and it can be done safely, pull off the road away from oncoming traffic.
- Slow down. It’s simply always a good idea to slow down when the weather conditions are not ideal. Heavy rain can not only limit visibility, but also cause your vehicle to hydroplane. Especially with a tall load, windy conditions can prove dangerous and require you to let off the accelerator and tighten your grip on your steering wheel.
- Do not drive through flooded areas. You can’t always gauge the depth of the standing water, and it’s impossible to know for sure what the water might be hiding. You also run the risk of water getting sucked into the air-intake valve then into your engine, leaving you stranded.
- Receive inclement weather notifications. Apps like InRoute Route Planner among others will give you weather alerts as you drive.
- Find shelter. In the case of a tornado, get off the highway and find shelter outside of your vehicle right away. If you can’t find a building for safety, find the lowest part of the ground, such as a ditch, as far away from trees and bridges as possible.
- Slow down. (Notice a trend here?) If you’re passing your fellow drivers, you’re going too fast. It’s better to arrive late than not arrive at all.
- Use low beams. It doesn’t matter what time of day, if there’s fog, turn on the headlights. Avoid your brights as they can reflect off the fog and worsen visibility. Low beams will help you see and help others see you.
- Use reflectors and roadway lines as guides. In regular weather conditions, these helps are a no-brainer. In fog, they’re a lifeline. Avoid drifting out of your lane or missing a curve by paying extra close attention to road markings.
- Get off the road. Sometimes the wisest option is to wait it out. Find a rest area or fueling station instead of sitting on the side of the road.
- Always perform a pre-trip check.
- Aim to keep the gas tank above the halfway mark.
- Adjust your route or schedule based on weather reports.
- Stock up on essential safety supplies including water, a blanket, a flashlight, road flares, jumper cables, and an ice scraper.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to put your safe driving skills to work, contact Wave today!