While driving your vehicle through dangerous conditions such as snowy or icy roads, heavy rain, or dense fog, your preparation and practice will be thoroughly tested. Just because a snowfall is light doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous; it can get very slippery. If you think about all of the oil and exhaust that coats the roads, it’s easy to see how even a little amount of rain or snow could cause the roads to become slippery and cause you to have less control over your vehicle. Not to mention fog banks and dust storms that can completely eliminate your visibility.
While driving in dangerous conditions, you should put some thought into what may come in handy if an emergency situation were to arise. Things like water, blankets, and flares are some of the most common items. Even if the road conditions are OK, you want to at least have a first-aid kit handy.
Other than the essential first aid items like band-aids and wound-cleaning ointment, you should have some big towels to use for pressure against any possible wound. In the kit, you should also have gauze, cotton balls, eye drops, pain relievers, and a CPR guide (found online).
If you’re going on a trip and you anticipate possible adverse weather conditions, you should add to your kit accordingly. For example, snow travel may require you have tire chains or clothing that you can throw on to get dirty in case you need to dig out of the snow. Rubber garden gloves are a great choice because they provide protection while still allowing you to use the full dexterity of your fingers.
If a trip may have rainstorms, it would be smart to bring a poncho or spare clothing so you don’t have to sit in wet clothes if something were to happen. You must constantly think about what might happen when you are on your driving trip. One of the most important things to have is a cell phone along with a car charger in case you ever get stuck or need any other kind of help.
It should be noted that snow and rain are not the only dangerous road conditions. Things like extreme heat can be especially tough on cars and even the passengers of the vehicle, so make sure there is always enough water. There may be situations where you need to turn off the air-conditioning to boost engine power or prevent the engine from overheating. If there’s no air conditioning, wet clothes is a good alternative for cooling down in emergency situations.
Some other dangerous conditions are strong winds that may cause tree or power lines to fall. Use extreme caution in these situations and stay concentrated on what’s in front of you and around you.
It’s vital that you not let outside conditions steal your attention. If you become nervous, simply slow down. It doesn’t matter if the people around you don’t particularly enjoy it; you should drive as you feel comfortable. The safety of everyone in your vehicle is the number one priority, not the opinions of other drivers.
Use Your Head
The first and most important rule for driving in dangerous conditions is to use common sense. You know that when visibility is low, you should slow down, and if you can’t see just a few feet ahead, you shouldn’t drive at all. If this happens to be the case, pull off the road as far as possible, turn on your hazards, and get a safe distance away from the vehicle to avoid getting hit by other drivers.
The second rule for driving in dangerous conditions is to figure out just how bad the conditions are. Choose a place with plenty of open road and no other vehicles behind you or approaching, and then try coming to a quick stop. Performing this test will help you determine how much stopping space you need for the present conditions while also helping you determine the best course of action when losing control of the vehicle.
Safe Speed and Distance
The third rule for driving in dangerous conditions focuses on keeping safe distances between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. Think of a situation in which someone had to slam on their brakes for an animal running across the road. Would you be able to stop quickly enough to avoid read-ending that person? If not, you need more room. Don’t let people tailgating you pressure you into tailgating someone else.
One of the most prevalent mistakes that drivers commit is having too little of a cushion between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. Realize you are not in a race and that you are just trying to relax and get to your destination safely.
If the drivers behind you are driving aggressively and aren’t putting enough space between themselves and the car ahead of them, don’t hit the brakes to spite them. Keep up a normal speed and consider making more space in front of you for the aggressive driver to pass you. There’s a good chance the person driving aggressively might get pulled over anyways.