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Into The Elements
Don’t drive in bad conditions if it isn’t necessary. Weigh the risk and change your plans. Good judgment takes common sense and lots of practice.

 

RAIN . SNOW . ICE . FOG . DUST . WIND
LIMITS YOUR CONTROL

Extreme weather strains every driver's competence and puts us all at greater risk. It reduces visibility, traction, speed and distance judgment. It's important to know where weather-related dangers lurk and how they affect your mobility. If possible - avoid extreme conditions. If not - develop your skills and learn to keep other drivers from dragging you down.

ACTION
1. Listen to weather reports to assess road conditions and pick a safe route. Nightfall and dropping temperatures can freeze roads and diminish traction.

2. Check equipment: windshield wipers, tire treads for traction on slippery roads, spare tire, radio, heater, and cell phone. Keep all windows defogged. A tank full of gas and other rear weight will enhance traction.

3. Allow extra time. Reduce speed and increase following distance for extra maneuverability. Give others advance warning of lane changes and turns. Avoid sudden accelerations. Make slow, wide turns. If you’re weary of the strain, take a rest or stop somewhere safe.

4. Make yourself visible. Use hazard flashers and low-beam headlights, especially in fog, which refracts light.

5. Anticipate and prevent skids. Shift into neutral as you stop to reduce the force of your wheels on the road surface. Turn and break slowly and maintain a firm grip on the wheel.

REACTION
Slick Roads reduce your tires’ ability to grip.With less traction, turns, stops and evasive maneuvers require more time & distance.

Heavy Rains not only diminish visibility, they increase the risk of hydroplaning: when a car traveling at high speeds actually lifts and travels on a thin layer of water that forms between the tire and the road.

Light Rains, Fog & Mist following a long dry spell causes a film of dirt, gas and oil to accumulate on the road, creating slippery conditions. WATCH OUT!

On Ice and Icy Patches. You can't STEER. You can’t STOP. You will have NO TRACTION and NO BRAKES.

ICY PATCHES appear DARK, and occur: At temperatures near freezing; Under bridges where the sun hasn't dried water; Over bridges exposed to the weather underneath; On less traveled stretches of road; At sunset when temperatures drop.

SLICK MOVES

PATH Choose a safe path of travel. Follow the tracks of the vehicle ahead. Keep to high ground, especially in flash flood areas. Stay to the center of the road to avoid deep water and run-off areas, which can pull you off the road.
FLOODS In a flash flood, pull off to the side of the road and wait until the rain stops and water recedes before resuming travel. Avoid low-lying areas, tunnels, underpasses, the edge of the road or other areas where water runs off and collects.
WINDS As high winds buffet your car, maintain a firm grip on the wheel, or signal and pull off to the side of the road with your hazard lights on.
ICE Anticipate and avoid icy patches. Apply, then release brakes and steer away before you reach them. For more control, downshift before you hit the ice.
STEER Steering provides more control on ice than brakes do. You will skid out of control attempting to turn on ice at high speeds. Keep acceleration to a minimum and make slow, wide turns.
SKID To manage a skid, turn your wheel towards the direction the rear of your car is skidding. If this causes the car to fishtail, repeat the action several times to bring the car under control. As on ice, apply brakes intermittently, and steer to correct direction when the brake is not engaged.
SHIFT If you have time, during a skid shift your car into neutral and stay off the brake completely. Keep your eyes where you want to go and steer smoothly.
BRAKES If you find yourself on ice going too fast, lightly pump the brakes and steer between pumps to control the direction of the car while your foot is off the brake. Should your brakes lock, gently release brake pressure and reapply less firmly. Do not pump antilock brakes.
BLOWOUT Blow outs occur when a tire is punctured or worn out, if the vehicle is overloaded, or during a sudden, evasive maneuver. Your car's reaction will depend on which tire blows, your speed and road conditions. Generally, the car pulls in the direction of the blown tire or, if the rear tire is blown, the car may fishtail from side to side. Keep a firm grip on the wheel and stay in your lane until the car is under control. Sound your horn and hit your hazard lights. Then pull off the road.
© 2014 The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc.