You hear it every time the snow falls…radio announcers suggesting you avoid a route.. a lane closed due to a crash. You cringe to think of the stressful drive ahead and contemplate calling in sick. You are nervous about going out, not so much because of the weather, you say. You are just worried about the “other guy”.
Here are simple steps you can take, both before you go and during your journey if you want to reduce your risk of a bad weather crash.
Before you go, be certain your vehicle is in good condition. A full tank of gas, good brakes, working defroster, good wipers, and full washer fluid will reduce your stress and your risk. On a longer journey, carry a spare gallon of washer fluid in the trunk. And of utmost importance, you must have good tires with deep tread. If your tires are low on tread and are not all-weather or snow tires, you will not have the traction you need to safely control your vehicle. Low tread not only increases your risk, but also endangers others while you are slip-sliding down the roadway.
Dress for the weather, not the warmth of the car. Bring your jacket, boots, and gloves even if you choose not to wear them during your drive. You will not regret having them should you need them in case of a break down. Wear polarized sunglasses. They reduce glare and help you recognize risk sooner.
Drive slower than you would in perfect conditions. Remember Limit simply means no faster than. Good judgment is necessary. Drive at a speed that is wise for the conditions. Any time snow, rain, ice, leaves, gravel, dirt come between your tire and the pavement, you DO NOT have traction, which means you DO NOT have control. All-wheel drive vehicles are not exempt from this natural law. You must slow down even when operating in all-wheel drive.
Space is Your Friend! Double your following distance. Leave at least six seconds between you and the vehicle ahead in wet weather. If the road is snow-covered and slick, add more space. Even with excellent tires and brakes, it will take at least 50 percent more space for you to stop, even if you are very attentive. It’s simple physics: anything between your tire and dry pavement erases traction. No traction=No control.
The most common cause of bad weather crashes is not the weather. You CAN avoid the crash, if you avoid these two common driver errors. Speed– Driving Too Fast For Conditions and Tailgating – Following Too Closely. Reduce Your Speed and Increase Following Distance. You can make the drive safely. Enjoy the journey!