6 Tips for Driving in Severe Weather

Mother Nature has a way of surprising us when we least expect it. Unpredictable weather conditions, from sudden storms to flash floods, can make driving a challenging and potentially dangerous task. To help you navigate these situations safely, we’ve compiled our top tips for driving in severe weather.

Don’t drive through a flooded road

One of the most dangerous situations you can encounter on the road is driving through a flooded area. It may seem like common sense, but many accidents happen when drivers underestimate the power of rushing water. Just 12 inches of swiftly moving water can carry away most cars, and it takes only two feet of water for trucks and SUVs. To avoid the risk, never attempt to cross a flooded road, even if it appears shallow.

Drive slowly

In most challenging weather conditions, slowing down is key. Reducing your speed gives you more time to react to unexpected obstacles and potentially slippery roads. Remember that your vehicle’s stopping distance increases in severe weather, so maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you is crucial. By driving slowly, you’ll have better control over your vehicle and reduce the risk of accidents.

Resist the urge to “floor it”

If you are stuck on muddy or snowy roads, the temptation to hit the gas pedal hard can be strong. However, doing so can lead to spinning tires and loss of control. If you find yourself stuck, follow these steps:

  • Straighten your wheels.
  • Gently accelerate, applying steady pressure to the gas pedal.
  • Avoid spinning your tires; this only digs you in deeper.
  • If you have sand, kitty litter, or blocks in your emergency kit, place them under your drive wheels to gain traction.

Stock your vehicle

Being prepared for unexpected emergencies is a smart move for any driver. Having certain items on hand can make a significant difference if you find yourself stranded in adverse weather conditions. Create an emergency roadside kit that includes essential items, such as:

  • Jumper cables
  • First-aid supplies
  • Non-perishable snacks and water
  • Ice scraper and snow brush

Read more tips on how to put together a car emergency kit.

Leave your lights on

Visibility is crucial when driving in unpredictable weather. Ensure your headlights are on, even during daylight hours, as it helps others see your vehicle better. Additionally, consider using your hazard lights in extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain or dense fog. This added visibility can help prevent accidents by alerting other drivers to your presence.

Pull off the road if necessary

If the weather conditions become too treacherous to continue safely, don’t hesitate to pull off the road. Find a safe place to park, such as a rest area or parking lot, and wait for the weather to improve. It’s better to delay your journey than risk getting involved in an accident due to poor road conditions.

Driving in unpredictable weather conditions demands caution, preparedness and patience. By following these six safety tips, you can protect yourself and others when driving in severe weather. Remember, your safety should always be your top priority, so exercise good judgment and take extra precautions when facing challenging weather conditions.