Winter weather has arrived in California and that makes for some treacherous driving. This becomes even more problematic when combined with the fact that so many people will be traveling for the holidays. Due to this fact, it is very important for all drivers to be prepared to handle inclement weather while on the road this winter.
There are two different types of bad weather that can really affect road conditions, rain and snow. When it starts to rain, the roads get wet and slick, making things difficult. However, rain is much more manageable than snow. When it starts to snow, or temperatures drop below freezing, the wet roads become frozen, making driving very dangerous, especially without the proper precautions.
Tips for Driving in the Rain
When driving in hazardous conditions, such as rainy weather, a person needs to pay more attention to the road. Often times, drivers tend to drive subconsciously and follow the road out of habit. By doing this, a person is less likely to be able to react in time to any surprises. Due to the rain, there can be a lot of surprises.
Some other tips for rainy weather driving include:
- Turn on headlights. Anytime when things start to get dark and dim, a driver should turn on their headlights, even if they can see okay without them, since the lights make them more visible to other vehicles.
- Slow down. Due to water on the road, cars will have less traction and will be more likely to lose control. This is called hydroplaning. If a car begins to hydroplane, the driver should not slam on the brakes. Instead, they should take their foot off of the gas, letting the car decelerate naturally and focus on steering the vehicle safely. As the car slows down, it will stop hydroplaning and regain traction.
- Do not use cruise control in slick conditions. If the car begins to hydroplane, the cruise control will actually try to speed up the car making the problem worse.
- Be careful when changing lanes. Thanks to the slick roads, cars will need more time to slow down and stop. As such, a driver needs to give themselves more space between cars when changing lanes in order to avoid causing any accidents.
Tips for Driving in the Snow
Most experts recommend that a person avoid driving in the snow whenever possible, as the road conditions get very dangerous, especially for drivers who have never dealt with frozen roads before.
When a person is driving in the snow, they should keep extra supplies in their vehicle. Some of these supplies should be extra warm clothes, a blanket, food, and water. This is just in case something goes wrong and the person ends up stranded somewhere, like on the side of a road.
Some other frozen road driving tips include:
- Drive slowly. Driving at high speeds in slick conditions is a surefire way to get into an accident.
- Accelerate and decelerate slower. Due to the slick surfaces, getting a car to speed up or slow down takes more time and a driver should plan for that.
- Don’t tailgate. Since it takes longer to come to a stop in slick conditions, a driver should increase the distance between them and the car in front of them.
- Don’t stop on hills. Trying to get going up a hill from a dead stop in slick conditions is extra difficult.
- Have chains or snow tires ready to go. The best way to drive in snow is to be prepared, and sometimes that means having the proper equipment.
During all of the bad weather and darkness that comes with winter, a vehicle’s lights get a whole lot of use. It is important for a driver to make sure that all of their lights on their car are working properly. This includes:
- Brake lights.
- Turn signals.
- Rear license plate light.
Failing to make sure these lights are functioning properly is a great way for a driver to get a fix-it ticket. These kinds of tickets give the driver a choice, they can either pay the fine, or pay to get their vehicle fixed. Most people prefer to just get their vehicle fixed. Once they have done that, they need to get a certified person to sign off on the ticket to prove that the problem was fixed.
A driver can avoid the headache of a fix-it ticket by checking all of the exterior lights on their car before driving anywhere this winter.
Stay Safe Out There
Experts recommend that people avoid driving in rainy and snowy weather whenever possible because it is more dangerous. However, that isn’t always possible for people. So, if a person does need to drive in inclement weather this winter, they need to do so carefully.
By following the tips above, a person should be better prepared for the bad driving conditions that winter may throw their way. Do you have any winter weather driving tips that didn’t make the list? If so, share them in the comments below and help everyone stay safe on the road this year.