Driving in Bad Weather
Driving in bad weather is something that no one enjoys, but that we have to encounter at times. If you do have to drive through a bad storm or in deep snow, knowing how to drive properly is of the utmost importance to staying safe. Here are a few tips and tricks you should keep in mind to get you through the worst road conditions.
Driving a Regular Car in Bad Weather
The vast majority of people will only ever have to drive a regular car or truck in inclement weather. Most cars these days, especially front-wheel-drive models, are reasonably good on snow, but still need to be driven carefully. If you are driving on snow, ice or even an excessively wet road, there are two basic principles that you need to keep in mind. The first is to slow your vehicle down, and the second is to put more distance between yourself and any vehicles ahead of you. By doing both of these things, you can account for the possibility that your vehicle will slide as you attempt to come to a stop, preventing you from potentially rear-ending someone else.
If you have to drive very far in bad weather, it's also important that you plan adequately for your trip. For instance, you should have a jack, a tire iron and a properly inflated spare tire in case you need to replace one of your tires. You should also plan your route along major central highways that are likely to be the first that are plowed and salted. Also, make sure you carry the proper equipment in car as certain areas may require snow tires or chains.
Bad Weather Driving in a Commercial Truck
Driving commercial trucks in poor road conditions is entirely different than driving a regular passenger vehicle. Trucking companies in BC, Alberta and other provinces that frequently experience large-scale snowfall must be extremely careful when sending drivers out onto icy or snowy roads. Truck drivers need to receive proper training and education prior to driving a commercial truck on the road.
Like cars, one of the best ways to improve a truck's traction is to put chains on its wheels. Drivers should be mindful of road hazards such as black ice, as a truck could drift and the driver will need to react quickly to prevent drifting off the road. More so even than cars, trucks need to slow down when roads aren't in good shape, as it takes them longer to come to a full stop than a comparatively light passenger vehicle.
Reading the Road: The Most Important Skill for Safe Driving
One of the most important skills for safe driving is reading the road. Learn to spot potential road hazards such as, black ice, debris and road conditions. A good strategy for spotting black ice is to look for areas that are shaded from sunlight, such as underneath bridges or beside roadside trees. If you know where you might run into black ice, you should reduce your speed appropriately before encountering the hazards.
In windy conditions, snow blowing across open areas can build up if it hits something solid, making for a potentially hazardous road obstacle. If you're driving on highways away from the city, be sure to look for roadside obstacles, such as solid guardrails or raised dirt embankments that might cause snow to pile up. As you approach the point where you think the snow may be deeper, be sure to slow down.
We hope these tips help you to be more aware and confident of driving in the winter. Always remember to stay alert and be prepared as you hit the road. If the conditions are bad you should consider putting.
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