Safe Driving in Bad Weather
You should always avoid driving in inclement weather if possible. But if you do have to drive, use extra care, and make sure your vehicle is in safe operating condition. Bad weather can change the road conditions, which often leads to accidents and road obstructions. Remain alert for law enforcement, especially since you may come upon warnings or barricades. If you need to call for emergency help, stop in a safe location first, and if an accident does occur, try to move your vehicle out of traffic and call for help before you consult a lawyer directory and talk to a car accident lawyer.
- Reduce your speed and increase following distance to give you extra time to stop.
- Avoid sudden maneuvers.
- Take steps to improve visibility when driving in the rain. Turn your headlights on and use the defogger to keep the windshield clear. In some states, the law requires that your headlights be on whenever the windshield wipers are on.
- Try to drive in the tire tracks of cars in front of you.
- Hydroplaning occurs when a layer of water separates the tires and the pavement. If hydroplaning occurs, steer straight and let off of the accelerator. Do not brake or turn the steering wheel. As the car slows down, the tires will naturally regain contact with the pavement.
- Use caution in mist or light rain because oil and debris on the road can make the pavement slippery.
- Be cautious about driving through puddles because they can hide large potholes.
- Driving in the Rain (PDF)
- Safe Driving in the Rain (PDF)
- Rainy Day Driving Tips
- Season's First Rain Can Mean Driving Problems (PDF)
- Tips for Traveling in Rainy Weather
- Never attempt to drive through standing water because the water can be deeper than it appears. Just 2 feet of water is enough to sweep away most vehicles.
- If you do drive into fast-running water, the current could pull the vehicle to one side. If this occurs, stop accelerating but do not brake. Steer the car away from the running water.
- If your vehicle is caught in a flood while you are driving, exit the car immediately and get to higher ground.
- Flash Flood Safety (PDF)
- What to Do if Caught in a Flash Flood
- Turn Around: Don't Drown
- Flash Floods
- Floods and Heavy Rain: Safety Tips
- Always remove accumulated snow and ice from your vehicle completely before driving, not just from the windows.
- Equip your vehicle with snow tires and chains if necessary.
- Drive slowly and exercise extreme caution in snow and icy conditions. Depending on the size of your car, expect your stopping distance to increase by three to 12 times when driving in snow.
- Brake slowly when stopping.
- Bridges and overpasses freeze first due to winds blowing over these surfaces. Slow down when approaching them.
- When stranded in a vehicle during a snowstorm, clear snow away from the tailpipe and then stay in the car. Keep one window open slightly, and run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes out of every hour to maintain warmth.
- Listen to weather and road reports to stay aware of weather conditions and road closures. Plan alternate routes to use in emergencies.
- Winter Driving Tips
- Safe Winter Driving (PDF)
- Tips for Safe Winter Driving (PDF)
- Safe Winter Driving Tips
- Winter Operations and Safety
- Surviving Winter
- Slow down if you see fog ahead.
- Turn the headlights on or use your fog lights.
- Keep the defroster and windshield wipers running.
- Watch for slow-moving or stopped traffic ahead.
- When driving in heavy fog, roll the windows down so you can hear traffic ahead before you see it.
- Foggy Driving Conditions (PDF)
- Driving in Fog (PDF)
- Driving in the Fog
- Fog Safety Tips
- Safe Driving Practices (PDF)
- Don't try to outrun a tornado in a car.
- If you think a tornado is imminent, stop and get out of the car. If no safe shelter is near, lie flat in a ditch or gully with your arms over your head for protection.
- Tornado Safety (PDF)
- Emergency Preparedness: Tornadoes (PDF)
- Tornado Safety (PDF)
- What to Do in a Tornado
- Tornado Preparedness
- Pack your car with essential belongings and fill your gas tank if a hurricane watch is issued for your area.
- Listen to the radio to receive evacuation instructions. Know designated evacuation routes and use these routes if necessary.
- Remain aware of flooding conditions, which can happen without warning both before and after a hurricane.
- Watch for obstructions and debris around you, such as trees and downed utility lines.
- Hurricane Evacuation
- Hurricane Evacuation Routes and Maps
- Are You Ready?
- Inclement Weather Conditions
- Hurricane Evacuation Checklist (PDF)
- Remain in your car if you are in a thunderstorm with lightning. If you have to park your vehicle, choose an open area away from nearby trees.
- Be alert for flooding on roads.
- Watch for storm debris such as branches, trees, and power lines on the road.
- When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors
- Thunderstorm and Lightning Facts (PDF)
- Violent Thunderstorms
- Lightning Safety
- Thunderstorms and Hail