Negosentro.com | Whether you’re a beginner driver or an expert, accidents can unexpectedly happen to anyone. In the 6 million cases of vehicular accidents that occur yearly, 22% of it is caused by bad weather. More alarmingly, there are around 5900 annual fatalities due to weather-related accidents—more than other natural disasters.
While there will always be a certain amount of risk present any time you’re on the road, more factors can come into play during times of inclement weather. Rain, snow, fog, or driving in the dark or extreme heat can be extra risky, as you may encounter elements that are out of your control, increasing the chances of getting into an accident.
If you find yourself having places to be and people to see despite the harsh weather, your best option is to change your driving style to minimize the risk and avoid harm. The infographic below discusses the best practices for driving in different types of inclement weather. In general, common methods are:
- Using your lights properly
Having the right headlights can help you better see the road and surrounding areas, especially during low-visibility situations. Properly using turn signals and avoiding blinding other drivers with your high beams can also prevent endangering others on the road.
- Paying attention to your surroundings
Especially at night and low-visibility situations, having the presence of mind to observe your environment can help you notice and avoid road hazards like debris, crossing animals, and the like.
In the case of heavy rains, looking up your route in advance is crucial in steering clear of flooded areas. Avoid driving if you are tired or lack sleep, as your senses may not be as alert and may cause you to miss potential hazards.
- Slowing down and controlling your steering
Wet, icy, and windy roads can cause skidding and difficulty in applying the brakes. In such cases, proceed with caution at turns and pay attention to other vehicles on the road. During inclement weather with little visibility, you may not immediately notice any hazards around you, making it all the more important to drive slowly and carefully.
- Applying the brakes gradually to stop
The key to avoiding skidding or slipping is to decelerate slowly and resist slamming on the brakes. When you stop too rapidly, you stand to become a hazard to other drivers by creating a risk of getting rear-ended by others behind you. Ensure that your brake lights are working to make it easier for other drivers to plan their own actions.
- Preparing yourself and your vehicle
At the end of the day, you want to be able to count on your vehicle’s performance throughout the harsh weather. Make sure that your car is in good driving condition and all its features—lights, brakes, wheels, and so on—are fit for the weather you’ll be driving in.
It’s also recommended to have an emergency repair kit in your vehicle if you will need to make repairs in the middle of your journey. Keep a list of service hotlines and emergency numbers handy at all times.
Staying safe on the road means obeying traffic laws, maintaining a certain speed, and learning to slow down. In the case of inclement weather, remaining vigilant and evaluating the situation before acting can save your life, especially if your vision or mobility is handicapped.
At the end of the day, your safety should be the top priority. If the conditions are too harsh or you are not in the right physical or mental state to be alert enough and control your driving, it may be for the best to postpone or cancel any plans and stay indoors. Nobody can fault you for wanting to risk harm in a dangerous situation.