Foggy Roads Need Crystal Clear Skills – Tips for Driving Safely in Poor Conditions
A car is so much more than a status symbol or even something that gets you from A to B. It is the vessel that stands between you and the elements, and the quality of the car is something that is of utmost importance in terms of keeping you safe. This is especially true in less-than-ideal driving conditions, which is why it’s important to have a regular car service to make sure it’s up to the challenge. The bottom line, however, will always be you, the driver. No matter how well your car runs, it only does so with you at the helm, and as a result you need to be aware of the way your driving should adapt to different conditions. Here are a few tips:
Slow down. Turn your lights on so that other drivers can see you, but be aware that if you try to use your high-beams to penetrate the fog they will most likely just reflect back at you, make it more difficult to see than before. If you cannot anticipate a safe distance in front of you, find a safe place to pull off the side of the road and leave your hazard lights on so that other drivers can see you.
In Australia, we often have summer rain storms that deposit a huge amount of water on previously dry roads in a short amount of time. This is the most dangerous type of driving rain because it means that the water has not had time to soak into the road and as a result is pooled on top, creating the possibility of hydroplaning (sliding along the water) The main thing to be aware of is to slow down, calculate turns and stops before you make them and try to avoid braking too suddenly.
Depending on the size of the hail, a hailstorm can be anything from a minor driving distraction to a serious hazard to your safety and your car. Gauge how serious the storm is and if you feel unsafe try to find a sheltered place to pull over (be mindful of falling trees if it is a fierce windstorm). If you do decide to keep driving, be sure to turn off the radio and all other distractions, drive slowly and calmly and keep the windscreens clear of condensation by de-fogging them. Put your windscreen wipers on the highest setting as this will prevent some of the deluge from damaging the glass.
In the rare instance of ice, sleet or snow on the road you need to be aware of car’s capabilities, especially the tyres. Many Australian tyres are not really equipped for driving in icy conditions so you need to take it very slowly and calmly, not making any sudden moves.
While an auto mechanic can help you make sure you car is in the best possible condition, it’s ultimately up to you to cope with any adverse weather conditions that may make driving more dangerous.