Safety Tips for Driving in Severe Weather

warning sign laid over background of dark stormy sky

The safest way to drive in severe weather is not to do it at all. It’s always safer to wait. Still, there are times when this advice might not be practical, in which case drivers can protect themselves by learning the precautions and tips to follow when driving in fog, rain, high winds, and winter storms.

Safe Driving Tips for Fog

Turn on your low-beam headlights and fog lights (if your vehicle has them) when driving in fog. Do not use your vehicle’s high beams since the stronger light will reflect off the fog and make it harder to see ahead.

Follow the white line on the right side of the road. It’s the easiest to see in low-visibility conditions, and you will also avoid getting blinded by the headlights of oncoming vehicles.

Put extra distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead to allow extra time to stop if necessary. Signal your turns and lane changes early to warn other drivers to slow down to maintain a safe distance from you.

Turn your hazard lights on in dense fog to make yourself more visible to other drivers. Refrain from changing lanes or passing, if possible, and watch for slow or stopped traffic ahead.

Safe Driving Tips for Rain

Put extra distance between your vehicle and other traffic when driving in the rain. You will need extra room to brake if the car ahead of you slows down or stops. Leaving extra distance will also keep you out of the spray from the tires of the vehicle ahead of you.

Turn on your headlights to make your car more visible to other drivers.

Avoid driving through puddles or standing water, as they can cause your vehicle to hydroplane if the tires lose traction. Slow down if you need to drive through standing water, and stick to driving in the middle lanes of the highway when available since rainwater will collect on the outside edges of the road.

Obey any flood warning signs or barricades. Do not attempt to drive through flooded areas since your vehicle may stall or get swept away by strong currents.

Safe Driving Tips for Wind

Look out for any flying debris, especially when driving around trucks that may carry lightweight cargo. If you can plan ahead, do not attach any cargo to the top of your vehicle since it will increase the surface area for the wind to blow against.

If you have to carry cargo, put the heaviest items toward the bottom to help lower your vehicle’s center of gravity.

Safe Driving Tips for Snow and Ice

Snow and ice can make roads extremely slippery, creating the perfect conditions for vehicles to skid or spin out. Driving in the cold also requires extra preparation.

Check your vehicle’s antifreeze, oil, and wiper fluid levels regularly during the winter. Keep your battery, wipers, and exterior lights in good condition. Check the air pressure in your tires. Tires lose pressure in low temperatures even if they don’t leak.

Use caution when driving on bridges or overpasses since those road surfaces will freeze first.

Keep an eye out for black ice, one of the most dangerous hazards of winter driving due to its low visibility. Look for any shiny or reflective patches on the pavement.

Accelerate and brake gradually. Slamming on the accelerator or brake pedal may cause your wheels to spin in place or trigger a skid or spin-out.

Who Can Be Liable for a Car Crash in Bad Weather?

All motorists must exercise caution in bad weather. So while you cannot hold the rain, snow, wind, or fog liable for a car accident, you may have a legal claim against a driver who failed to adjust their driving behavior accordingly.

Contact Our Alabama Car Accident Lawyers for Help

Contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an Alabama car accident lawyer about seeking compensation for a foul-weather crash that wasn’t your fault.

Joe A. King, Jr., has been trying cases on behalf of injured plaintiffs or surviving families since 2000.