Smart & Simple Safety Tips for Driving in Inclement Weather
Decades of scientific meteorology backed by advanced technology and we still are left guessing when it comes to tomorrow’s weather. With this in mind, it is no surprise that the best of drivers can get caught out in the worst of weather, and wind up in a serious car accident. In Florida in particular, wet and rough weather can toss in from the Atlantic or the Gulf without warning, creating dangerous hazards along streets and highways. To increase your chances of avoiding a collision, preparation and a little bit of safe driving knowledge can go a long way.
Keep these seven safe driving tips for inclement weather in mind when you hit the road:
- Inspect your ride: If you see the unfriendly weather on the horizon, or if it is already on top of you before you head out, give your car a quick inspection for any big problems. Tire pressure, windshield wipers, and headlights should be the priority.
- Slow and steady: The best and easiest advice you can get about good driving in bad weather is to slow down. And yet, glancing around at adjacent lanes in the rain and you will see that most drivers don’t know or respect this safety tip. Cut your speed by 5 miles per hour in a light rain, 10 miles per hour in a downpour, and 15 miles per hour in snow or a storm accompanied by harsh winds. Of course, these are just guidelines. Always decrease your speed accordingly to the situation to maintain safety.
- Do not tailgate: Remember the 3-second rule for following other drivers? In inclement weather, it is recommended that you extend the gap between vehicles to five or six seconds, even when you are driving much slower. You are going to want that extra space to stop or maneuver in case a worst case scenario unfolds.
- Smooth turning and braking: Keeping control of your vehicle is much easier when you have control of your own motions. Be mindful of how you are handling the steering wheel and the brakes. Your sudden, jerky movements will translate directly to your car and could contribute to a crash.
- Spinout control: Rounding a bend too quickly or hitting a patch of slick oil on a rainy road can toss your car into a spinout. If this happens, take your foot off both the brake and the accelerator, and gently turn your steering wheel in the direction you wish your car was going. With some luck and plenty of focus, you may stop the spin and resume your drive without incident.
- Turn off your phone: This cannot be stressed enough. Do not use your smartphone when driving in inclement weather. You shouldn’t really even use it for GPS navigation when the road ahead is so brutal. If your radio is distracting you, shut that off as well.
- Wait it out: How can you ensure you don’t get into an auto accident due to bad weather? Stay off the road when the sky is falling. Only make trips that are absolutely necessary to complete if driving does not feel safe. If you’re in the middle of a journey when the weather turns real sour real quick, consider pulling off the road and into the nearest parking lot to wait for the storm to pass.
At The Pittman Firm, P.A., we wish you and your family safe travels during all seasons. But if you ever get into an accident due to bad weather or the mistakes of another driver, know that our Panama City personal injury lawyer is here to help. You can call our main office at 850.724.4792 to tell us what happened during a free initial consultation. Calls are accepted 24/7 for new cases and emergencies.