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    Driving in Bad Weather

    Driving in Bad Weather

    Driving in the snowy weather can be dangerous but it does not have to be.  Making quality decisions while on the road, understanding the situation, and staying calm can all help ensure a safe voyage.   The next few weeks and possibly months, we will be forced to drive in less than ideal situations.  Below you will find a number of tips to help you sate safe while on the road.


    Understand the Situation

    Situational awareness is one of the most important factors to drive safely, especially in less than ideal circumstance.  So what really is situational awareness?  Some people would define it as understanding what is happening around you, others would say it is using all your sense to assess a situation.  These are both quality.  When driving in snowy whether it is important to know what the real dangers are.  Is snow falling and obstructing vision, are the roads icy, how will your car perform, and what is the best route to go.  So when you are getting ready to travel on the roads during a storm take a second to assess the situation.  Knowing what to expect on the roads can make the trip safer and even possibly quicker.


    Knowing your Vehicle’s Limits

    Not all cars, SUVs, and trucks are created equal.  Some have all wheel drive while some have rear wheel drive.  In addition; the frame shape, weight, and overall design of your vehicle matters while traveling in a snow storm.  Knowing and understanding your vehicle’s capabilities will help you stay out of dangerous situation.  A larger truck weighs more and as a result it will likely get better traction in the snow.  Furthermore, a car with rear wheel drive will have a lot of trouble maintaining control when compared to an all-wheel or front wheel drive vehicle.  So when you are driving don’t try to match speed with another type of automobile, instead find the speed that is safe for you.  Drive on the right side of the road and let other people pass you.  It is important that you do not push your car’s capabilities, so find the speed that you are comfortable going.  Don’t let the situation make your choices for you.  Know what speed you can travel at and make slower turns if it is the safest option. 


    Be Aware of Others

    A car accident is not a pleasant experience even if it is not your fault.  Someone else might be responsible for the damages but dealing with the whole situation is just a pain.  The best way to avoid this struggle is to be a defensive driver.  When driving in any situation it is a good idea to be defensive but it is even more important in bad weather.  People around you will make mistakes because they are scared, tired, in a hurry, or maybe just stupid.  It doesn’t matter if they end of crashing into you.  Knowing who is around you and what they might try to do helps you put yourself in a safer situation.  If the person in front of you is stopping to quickly put some extra space between your two vehicles.  If another driver is approaching quickly from behind ensure you are in the right lane and put yourself in a position to be passed safely.  Assume people around you are not perfect drivers because no one is.  We all make mistakes and the best way to help minimize our involvement in the errors of others is to avoid certain situations.  So when driving, especially in snow or other bad weather, be aware of the people around you and protect yourself from their mistakes.

    Planning your Route

    The best way to get from point A to point B might not always be a straight line.  Sometimes the best route is to take side streets and avoid traffic.  Other time the best route to take involves major roads and highways.  In bad weather conditions it is critical to think about the best way to travel.  Major streets and highways are usually in better condition.  They get more attention from just about every city and state snowplow working.  On the other hand, certain side streets might not be cleared of snow at all.   In addition, not all cities have the same resources and a route through a certain area can potentially be both quicker and safer.  So, when the weather is bad, spend a second to think about what the best route is to take.  Consider what city the streets are in and how likely the area is to be clear of snow.  Finally, if it is real bad spend a second to ensure that there are no major road closures.  If there are, it might be time to reconsider leaving at all. 


    Is the Trip Necessary

    Do you really need to leave your house?  This is the most important question to ask yourself when the driving conditions are poor.  If you have no food, water, or heat it would be a great decision to leave and go elsewhere.  In contrast, in you are comfortable and have all the life necessities don’t go out.  Traveling in snowy and stormy conditions is dangerous and it sometimes is the best option to cancel plans.  In addition, pay attention to weather forecast.  Know when the weather is likely to be poor and be prepared.  Go to the store and ensure you will have enough food, water, and whatever else you might need to stay at home for a day or two.  It is okay to know your limits and know when you cannot travel safely. 


    Driving in bad weather is dangerous no matter how much experience you have doing it, no matter how well your car is designed for it,  and no matter how well you prepare for it.  Traveling in these conditions should only be done when necessary.  It is important to be in the right frame of mind and to have a clear purpose and destination when you embark on the roads.  So be aware, be prepared, and drive safely.