Driving Safely in the Rain or Snow

Driving Safely in the Rain or Snow
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that it covers any and all water safety-related topics. That includes precipitation! During the colder months, we may often find ourselves behind the wheel of a car in hazardous weather conditions. For this week’s post, let’s discuss driving safely in the rain or snow.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

When it comes to driving safely in the rain or snow, water is never a welcome sight. Beyond causing you to break through thin ice, torrential rain can also severely limit your field of vision. In colder weather, rain can quickly freeze to your windshield. As you can probably expect, snow and sleet can make it downright impossible to see out of the vehicle. Besides the outside elements blocking your vision, shifts in temperature can easily cause your window to fog up.

To combat these issues, here are some simple tips for driving safely in the rain or snow:

  • If you are having trouble seeing, don’t risk the danger. Instead, pull over and wait out the storm. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Prepare your windshield wipers for the winter. If it has been a while since you’ve changed them, or it seems like they’ve seen a bit of wear and tear, replace the blades. It’s a minor expense that could end up saving your life.
  • Keep your windshield clean. It is always a good idea to clean the inside and outside of your windshield with a common household glass cleaner. Don’t only rely on windshield wiper fluid.
  • That said, be sure to keep your windshield wiper fluid full! There’s nothing worse than realizing that you are running on empty. Just be careful, as it can easily freeze on your windows in cold weather and lower your visibility even further.
  • Always keep a windshield scraper and a small broom in your vehicle. It can help to quickly clear the windows of a parked car.

Pull Over to Check Directions

These days, most of us rely on some form of GPS to get from place to place. Whether it’s a dedicated GPS unit or a phone app, these can all be quite hazardous to your health. They require a driver to momentarily look away from the road. That can be dangerous any time you’re behind the wheel, but obviously it is much riskier in the middle of a major storm.

Here’s a better solution: pull over to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights and review your directions. This winter driving safety tip will prevent you from constantly glancing over at your device during harsh conditions.

Stay on the Road

One of the best tips for driving safely in the rain or snow is to slow down! When it comes to winter driving safety, snow, slush and sleet can make your car difficult to control. Wet road conditions can cause you to veer off the safer path. Plus, driving during a storm can lead to hydroplaning, where your tires lose contact with the road. This can cause your car to drift and skid as though it is on skis. As always, be sure to wear your seatbelt at all times.

Additionally, you should never use cruise control when driving in the rain or snow. This feature, while helpful during normal conditions, removes control from the driver and can accidentally put you in a dangerous situation.

Finally, don’t drive too closely behind other cars. Be sure to turn on your headlights during inclement weather. This will also activate your taillights, making you easier to see from either direction.

If You Become Stranded 

If the worst happens and you become stranded, don’t panic. If there is no damage to your vehicle, the smartest plan is to stay inside your car and call for help using your phone. Don’t leave the vehicle to search for help, as you can be struck by another vehicle or become lost in the freezing cold weather.

While you wait for assistance, turn on the overhead safety lamp inside your car. Additionally, turn on your vehicle’s front and rear hazard lights. To stay warm, run your car engine and the heater in short ten-minute bursts. These intervals will conserve gas, but will also help to prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.