Poor Condition Driving
Sometimes, a nice drive is exactly what you need to clear your head and give you a sense of freedom. For many Australians, getting out on the open road on a clear sunny day to explore some of the beautiful scenery we have on offer is the perfect tonic for a stressful week in the office. Of course, when the conditions aren’t so sunny, and the road isn’t so open, driving can be a stressful experience in and of itself. Driving in poor weather conditions is a hazard and should be avoided where possible, but as we all, sometimes it is unavoidable, so we’ve compiled a list of tips for dealing with those situations. Always make sure you’re up to date on your latest car service (it’s in the less-than ideal conditions that you’ll really need it firing on all cylinders) and stay calm no matter what. Treacherous conditions can be navigated with the right skills and mindset, so YOU are the most important variable in this situation.
Heavy rain can not only obscure your vision, but can instantly make the roads slippery and dangerous, especially where there hasn’t been rain for a while. A big fear here is hydro-planing, where your vehicle’s wheels lose traction and you find yourself out of control. To avoid this, travel at a slower pace and keep the wheels stead–no sudden turns at high speeds.
If you need to turn, give yourself plenty of warning, and slow the car right down to make it. Braking in the wet can also be dangerous, as tyres are more prone to skidding. Ideally, keep a lot of room between you and the car in front of you to allow for any extra time it may take you to stop. Brake slowly and gradually, and avoid slamming on the brakes at all costs. The key to safe driving in the wet is prevention, not reaction, so make sure that you minimise the chance of an accident with every decision that you make.
Night driving can be hazardous for two reasons. Firstly, if it’s late at night or you’ve been driving for some time, your reactions are slightly slower. Secondly, your vision is impaired at night, as is some of your depth perception, which makes it harder to make preemptive decisions and evaluate situations from a long distance. It is important to make sure that all of your car’s exterior lights are working well and are clean so that other drivers can see you clearly, and if you’re having trouble seeing out of the windscreen because of glare, pull into a petrol station and give it a clean–the more dirt you have on your windshield, the more glare you’ll experience.
Storms, Wind and Hail
In the case of severe storms and or hail, the best option is to pull into a sheltered space. Depending on the size of the hailstones and the force of the wind, it may be safest to abandon your car and seek shelter in a petrol station or shop until it passes, but if this is not possible find somewhere to pull over–NOT underneath trees as they may collapse in a severe storm and cause damage to you and your car. Another thing to remember is to never drive through a flooded road. As we learned from the tragedy and devastation of the recent Queensland floods, it only takes a small amount of water to sweep a car off the road.
Making sure that any car repairs are taken care of as soon as the need presents itself is an excellent way to prepare for sticky situations. It’s the less-than-ideal weather conditions that will really test your vehicle, so keeping it in tip top condition is your best chance at safety.