Everyone has had the experience of driving in bad weather. So what are the important steps to take in fog, rain, snow, sleet, hail and any other type of weather that Mother Nature might throw at you? It is important that you’ve double checked all of the various features on your vehicle prior to getting stuck driving in poor weather!
You should always turn on your headlights in poor weather. Rain, fog and snow especially require you to turn on your lights so that other drivers can see you. While it does not tend to improve your visibility it makes you more visible to other drivers which will increase the safety for everyone.
Driving in poor weather will require that you know what to do. Having your headlights on is the first step. You might find that you need your wipers on as well in especially heavy fog, in rain and in snow. More importantly however is to keep the condensation down on the inside of the windshield to ensure good visibility. You might not need to use heat, but you will likely need to use some type of air flow to accomplish this.
Make sure you are very alert when driving in poor conditions. Keep an eye on the rear view mirror for drivers who might not see you right away. When you are aware that they are there you can help to avoid a collision. At the same time you need to watch closely in front of you and to each side. People needing to pull out onto the road you are driving on might not see you in time and may drive right into your path.
Keep in mind that the roads can become slippery with the slightest amount of rain or even fog. If temperatures are right, fog can also cause black ice to form. Black ice is a particularly dangerous form of ice that is nearly invisible. You discover you are on it when you begin skidding out of control. Remember your avoidance tactics and do not panic! That will only make the skid worse.
If you are trapped by bad weather such as a severe snow storm that put you in the ditch, stay in your car! Never leave your car if you become stranded. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers that you are there. Today many people use cell phones and almost always carry them along. Make the calls that are necessary to get help, but still remain in your car. If you get out of your vehicle you might be struck by another vehicle or you might end up getting frost bite or a number of other problems that can occur in severe weather.
Never try to slam on your brakes in bad weather. Rain and snow alike can increase the distance that is needed to stop. For this reason it is important to remember to gradually and slowly push your brake pedal when you need to stop. This helps to avoid skidding and sliding. Just because you have anti-lock brakes does not mean you cannot slip and slide as good as those without anti-lock!