Can you drive safely in every type of severe weather?

It’s helpful to know how to drive competently in every kind of bad weather.

Are you well equipped for severe weather driving conditions?

Driving in perfect weather is hard enough, but when severe weather hits, it’s important to take extra precautions. You probably already know that slowing down and increasing concentration can make a big difference.

But these extra precautions for specific kinds of weather can help you get to your destination safely.

Tips for driving in ice or snow

• Slow down. Bridges and overpasses freeze first, so take it slow and avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.

• Keep windows clear. Visibility is crucial, especially in bad weather. Turn on the lights and wipers and crank up the defroster, if necessary.

Scrape the ice off of your windows before you leave to ensure proper visibility. Also make sure that all items are removed from the back window area. If you’re still having trouble seeing, carefully pull over to a safe location well off the roadway.

• Brake cautiously. Abrupt braking can cause lock-up and loss of steering control. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal.

• Resist the urge to “floor it.” If you get stuck in snow, straighten the wheels and accelerate slowly. Avoid spinning the tires. Use sand or blocks under the drive wheels.

Tips for driving in rain

• Turn on wipers. Yes, it’s obvious, but remember to keep them maintained. A beam wiper blade will provide more uniform contact with the glass in the rain. Wipers should be replaced every six to 12 months for optimal performance.

• Use headlights. Visibility is usually compromised in rainy conditions. Headlights can help. All states have laws requiring the use of headlights in low visibility, and many states require headlights when wipers are in use.

• Keep windows clear. The defroster or air conditioner may help keep windows and mirrors clear.

• Be patient. Take it slower than normal. Leave more room when stopping. Wet pavement may cause loss of traction and lead to sliding or hydroplaning.

• Go around. Never cross a flooded roadway, because it’s tough to tell how deep the water is. Take the time to find an alternate route. The last thing you want is to get caught in a flash flood.

• Turn off cruise control. When roads are wet it is best to allow the driver to control speed and react to conditions.

Tips for navigating in the fog

• Turn on the low beams and fog lights. Day or night, headlights should be on and set to low beam. High beams can worsen visibility as they reflect off the fog.

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