Now that the summer months are well and done, the rainy and snowy seasons are starting to descend upon us. This means that driving conditions are changing, and you need to be prepared to handle them with caution and care.
Driving in the rain or snow brings with it new challenges, and not every driver is equipped to handle these tricky conditions. Being able to properly operate a motor vehicle during even the worst conditions is a valuable skill, but even seemingly light conditions can pose problems. Here are some useful safety tips before you drive in the rain or snow.
Give Plenty of Space
It is all too common that drivers stay close to you, or vice versa, and provide little breathing room on the road. One of the most common reasons for being involved in a car accident during rainy or snowy weather is caused by tailgating, which allows for little reaction time from your or other motorists. Getting too close to cars while driving gives you very little time to hit the brakes, and even in normal conditions, is this unacceptable. When the roads are slick with rain or snow, it amplifies the problem and leads to rear-ending someone. Giving a car length and a half to two car lengths is a simple way to avoid this.
Always Indicate Your Intentions
Your intentions, aka your movements on the road, should be as clear as possible for other motorists. When there are less reaction time and uncertainty because of conditions, you always need to use your signal lights, as you should, at any time under the law. It alerts motorists to lane merges and turns, so they are prepared for it. When making these movements in your vehicle, you should consider turning on your signals farther in advance, so they do not have to make a sudden reaction, either.
Follow the Speed Limit or Slower
Everyone is always in a rush on the road, it seems, and while it can be as innocuous as someone having to use the bathroom at home, the rainy and snowy conditions can dramatically change how dangerous speeding is. Following the speed limit or going a tad under it gives you plenty of opportunities to slow down further or come to a full stop. Speeding decreases the amount of traction your tires have as the contact between them, and the ground is reduced, so adding slick roads to that equation can equal skids or slip and slide. Follow the speed limit, go slower if you have to, and ignore anyone that could be honking because of impatience. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Get Appropriate Seasonal Tires
While it is not ideal for spending a couple hundred on a new set of tires, it could be the difference between a couple hundred or a couple thousand repairing damages to your car or someone else’s. Appropriate seasonal tires are either all-season tires, which are good for summer use and use in the rain, or true winter tires for heavy snow conditions. Winter tires are best if you have a true winter, but all-season can work well if you treat them well and drive carefully. An added bonus of using winter or season tires is that your insurance can give you a coverage price reduction for being careful. Not bad for playing it safe.
Ensure Your Lights and Signals Are Working Properly
Another tip that applies to any situation while driving is doing a check around your car to see if all the lights are working. Your brake lights are one of the most important ways to indicate to other motorists what your intentions are, so they need to be fully functional, lest you cause an accident or receive a ticket. Your headlights are also necessary for driving at night, but even further than that is their specialty settings. Nearly every car has fog lights and high beams, which can improve your visibility on unlit roads or highways. Have someone walk around your car while you try out each set of lights to see if they all work so you can drive knowing that your car is equipped for the road.
Being careful while driving is the number one priority. Firstly, it keeps you safe and alert to handle any kind of situation that happens, and secondly, it keeps other people safe as well. Using these important safety tips, you will be able to handle yourself accordingly in rainy and snowy conditions to protect you, and those around you, out of harm’s way.