Follow these important tips to stay safe driving as you travel in wind, rain, fog, or other hazardous road conditions:
1. Look ahead to anticipate hazardous conditions. When driving into bad weather, consider the road conditions and geography that favor gusty winds and poor visibility. Slow down and remember that the shoulder can often provide a clear path if you have to swerve or stop quickly. Often times in stormy conditions, you can see a “curtain of rain” on the road ahead, allowing you to adjust your driving accordingly.
2. Avoid driving alongside larger vehicles. Be aware of the hazards associated with large vehicles driving in windy or rainy conditions. They are more susceptible to being pushed into the downwind lanes (or overturning) in high wind conditions. They also kick up more spray, making it harder to see if you’re immediately behind them. Keep your distance, and ensure your windshield wipers are in good shape to stay safe driving.
3. Keep a responsive grip on your steering wheel. If the wind begins to push your vehicle unexpectedly, apply resisting pressure against the wind. Try to avoid sudden swerves which may cause you to lose control, and be sure to know how to handle your vehicle in case of a skid. Know the difference between pumping your brakes in the case of non-antilock brakes, versus applying consistent brake pressure if your vehicle is equipped with antilock brakes. Be especially careful in considering your maneuvering limitations if you are driving a large vehicle or towing a trailer.
4. Turn on your headlights. Also use driving lights or fog lights if you have them. Your goal is to make your vehicle more visible while also helping you see more clearly. Depending on the state you’re in, the law may require you to turn on your lights when it’s raining.
5. Keep your washer fluid and other engine fluids topped off. When you hit hazardous weather or road conditions, be sure your engine is performing at its best. An unreliable, lagging, or sputtering engine only compounds the problem if you need an extra boost of power to avoid a swerving vehicle, a falling tree, etc. Keep your transmission fluid service and oil changes up to date, and use a proper synthetic oil to ensure your engine delivers when you need it to.
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