Adverse weather and road conditions can create a major problem for drivers. For the most part, adverse weather conditions such as fog, rain, dust, and hail affect the driver’s ability to see the road. While one can continue to drive in situations such as this, the safety of the driver as well as the passengers is often compromised. It is difficult for drivers to drive in such conditions while keeping in mind the safety of the passengers . Many a time it has been observed that such adverse weather conditions resulted in the vehicle meeting with an accident or landing in a situation which requires roadside assistance to get back on the road.
Here are 5 adverse road and weather conditions one should be careful of while driving:
Heavy Rains and Floods:
One of the most common road hazards, rain reduces traction and maneuverability, and adversely affects the braking ability of the vehicle. Furthermore, heavy rains can lead to lower visibility, water clogged roads and standing water. The water on the roads, the speed of the car, and worn-out tires can cause the vehicle to hydroplane, resulting in fatal accidents . Hydroplaning can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle . If you feel that your car is hydroplaning, the best possible way to come out of the situation unscathed is to allow the vehicle to slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator.
Do not try to stop the car by braking until the tire groves have gained traction on the road again. Tires with water channeling treads reduce the chances of the car hydroplaning significantly. However, the best way to stop the car from skidding on wet roads is to control the speed of the vehicle.
Snow and Ice:
A snow or ice covered road is a dangerous path for a car to tread on . The chances for an accident to take place increase significantly if the car is being driven at high speed. Melting snow also poses a threat, as the wet surface and the partially melted ice act as lubricants, reducing friction between the tires and the road. Special car equipment such as tire chains and driving skills such as slow starts and stops can help the driver maneuver the vehicle safely during such conditions.
Here are some tips to drive in icy and snowy conditions safely:
- Try to get maximum road visibility by switching on the windshield wipers and low-beam headlights.
- Always keep the windshields and windows clear of snow and water, for unhindered visibility of the road.
- Don’t drive too fast and maintain ample distance from the car ahead of you. The slow speed will help your car crawl safely over ice covered roads. When you approach intersections or curves, maneuver the car slowly.
Strong Winds or Storms:
Strong winds can be a menace for drivers and can adversely affect a vehicle’s maneuverability and its braking capabilities. Strong winds are especially dangerous for campers, recreational vehicles, and towing trucks. Strong crosswinds generally caus the cars to swerve, especially vans and SUVs.
The best defense against strong winds is to drive slowly and continuously adjust the speed in accordance with the weather condition. For instance, headwinds generally affect the steering control of the car while tail winds, i.e. winds coming from the back push the car forward. Head winds coming the front slow the vehicle down significantly.
If compared to rain and snow, foggy roads might seem like a lesser threat for the driver. However, it is also considered to be very dangerous as it can cause accidents on the road. Fog reduces the visibility to a large extent, giving the drivers lesser time to react to potential oncoming dangers. Furthermore, foggy roads also make the driving maneuvers like changing lanes and braking much more dangerous compared to normal driving conditions.
Here are some tips to drive safely on foggy roads:
- While driving on fog covered road, always turn on the low-beam headlights instead of the high-beam ones. High-beam headlights, contrary to the common notions, actually reduce visibility, as the light reflects back, causing a glare.
- Keep ample distance from the car ahead of you if you can see it and drive slowly so that you have enough time to react in case of approaching vehicles from the other side.
- If the fog is too thick it is best to pull over and stop driving until visibility improves.
Rain, fog, ice, and wind are not the only enemies of drivers. Incessantly hot weather can also affect the car by heating up the engine. While driving during summers or unusually hot days, keep an eye on the gauges and warning lights of the car, especially the temperature gauge. If the temperature signal turns on or the gauge reaches just above the red zone, quickly turn on the heaters to the highest point to dissipate some heat away from the engine.
Moreover, switch off the air conditioning and and try to call for roadside assistance as soon as possible to get help for cooling down the engine. Hot engine often causes the car to break down on the road for which roadside assistance is required to either tow the car to the nearest mechanic or to help the engine cool down.
Driving amidst adverse weather condition such as the above poses a risk to the safety of the driver and the passengers. So, it is best to take stock of the road condition and the weather before venturing out.
Published courtesy of https://www.knightstotherescue.com/