Staying safe on the road when the weather takes a turn for the worse
Winter weather and summer storms can make the road a tricky place to navigate, but being an informed and prepared driver can ensure that you stay as safe as possible. The best way to stay safe is to familiarize yourself with the following tips for cautious driving during harsh weather:
- Check weather reports for any areas that you will be driving through before leaving home. Knowing what to expect can help you mentally prepare for driving in heavy rain or snow, and help you decide whether you should reschedule your plans instead of taking the risk of driving in a dangerous situation.
- Keep spare blankets and coats in your trunk at all times. A spare tire seems like the most important thing to have during a blowout, but if you have to wait for roadside assistance during a snowstorm, staying warm will be your top priority.
- Your headlights should be used during any situation with lowered visibility, even during the day. An easy way to remember this is to automatically turn on your headlights when you start using your windshield wipers, as well as at the first signs of fog.
- Turn your car’s radio to a station that will keep you updated with any news about approaching storms in the area. This will help you know whether you should continue to drive or stop and wait for bad weather to pass.
- Never use your phone or other devices that could be distracting while driving. Driving while attempting to operate your cell phone or GPS is always a bad idea, and when the weather is bad this can be even more dangerous. Always program your destination into your GPS before departing. If you receive a phone call that you must take, always wait until you can find a safe place to pull over before answering. Using a cell phone while driving is illegal in many states and The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use is the cause of over a quarter of crashes in the U.S. each year.
- Alert a friend or family member when you leave home and arrive at your destination when driving in bad weather. Making a quick call before and after driving during a storm takes little effort and could make a big difference if something unfortunate were to happen.
- If you begin to feel uncomfortable behind the wheel you should pull over as soon as you can safely do so. Driving with uncertainty doesn't do any favors for you or for others, so never overestimate your abilities while driving in bad weather.
Make careful note of these suggestions and you’ll find yourself on the road to a safer driving experience in no time, regardless of the weather.