Monday, October 17, 2011
Driving In The Elements
It is a rather unfortunate thing that the sky is not always clear and the wind not always calm and the extreme forces of nature leave our highways and roadways alone to the cars and those driving the cars. Instead, Nature is fickle and acts out at random often unprovoked in the violence that it brings caring not for when or where and we are left to deal with this attitude even if it does not find us safely in our homes. Often times the forces of nature find us in our cars driving to and from our little points completely unaware of what is about to be unleashed. Driving in ideal weather is a simple task; follow the rules and be on the look out, but when the fury of nature rears up different strategies are required.
The elements of rain, fog, and wind are among the most dangerous of Nature's wrath and if not treated with care result in crashes that take a devastating toll on car and driver. Extra care and extra attention are the tools drivers need in order to combat these problems. Defeating nature may be impossible but surviving it is a matter of precaution.
RAIN IS NOT LIMITED TO THE PLAINS IN SPAIN
It is an easy thing to say; "Don't drive in the rain if you don't have to" but when you have to this advice is useless. If you must go forth into that rain storm keep your safety and the safety of those sharing the roads in mind. Your duty does not end when you turn on your windshield wipers.
During rain your visibility will be cut if not dramatically then just enough to make conditions dangerous. Driving with your headlights in even the slightest of drizzle will make your car noticeable to other drivers and the road noticeable to you.
Reduce your speed as your drive in the rain. Just because the speed limit is a certain number does not mean that you must, above all else, reach this number. Speed limits are really a guideline, a recommended speed that will keep traffic moving at a safe and even flow. During a rain shower the roads will be more dangerous so it will be important to drive at a safe speed even if it does not match the numbers on the sign. This is especially vital if the rain follows a dry spell. The collected oil and grease from cars will make the roads slick and make it difficult for the tires to get enough traction. This can result in your car skidding off the road and hydroplaning. Hydroplaning will cause the car to drift until the tires can once again gain traction. If this should happen, it is not advisable to slam on the brakes. Keep the wheel straight and decrease speed until control is regained.
If you find yourself in rain that is excessive then pull to the side of the road at a safe distance and wait it out. It is never a good idea to speed through a puddle as the water may cause severe damages to your car's engine and you may even become stuck. Use your common sense when driving in the rain and keep alert. This will be a valuable commodity as you travel down the road and through life.
DRIVING IN FOGGY WEATHER
Driving in the fog is an especially dangerous task as the visibility can be non-existent. Though when this happens it is wiser to pull over and wait instead of risking your life and the lives of others in an accident that could have been avoided. However, if you find yourself surrounded by fog and with no other option then to keep driving, do so carefully and slowly.
Use the equipment at your disposal, notably your lights. Never use high beams in the fog as the light will be dispersed in the fog and become useless. Your low beams are best combined with any fog lamps you may have. Often times other drivers will not be able to see your car until they are passing you so your lights will let them know where you are.
Keep your speed slow and steady. Do not brake suddenly and certainly do not reverse. Signal early and brake slowly allowing those behind you time to react accordingly.
Concentration and focus are great allies when driving in fog. You can not be distracted by cell phones, music, or anything else as you navigate the quagmire. Most accidents that occur in fog are fatal. Fog can happen suddenly or slowly so keep aware of your surroundings and any changes in the weather or traffic as it can be an indicator that fog is up ahead.
I HEAR THE WIND AMONG TREES, SO BE CAREFUL DRIVING
Wind can make for some pretty dangerous driving conditions. Oftentimes, high winds are accompanied by other dangerous weather so the risks created by the winds may be overshadowed by the rain or the snow. Larger vehicles like trucks and RVs have the greatest difficulty in high winds as their greater size is more open to the battering effects. However, small cars and light weight vehicles will also need to take precaution.
High winds can kick up at a moment's notice so it may be tricky gauging when that next burst will come but if you already find yourself in conditions that favor extreme wind then drive at reduced speeds. Be especially mindful of the larger vehicles on the road and give them as much space as possible.
Do not treat high winds lightly; it is just as dangerous of a problem as rain and fog. Take bridges with extra caution and listen out for any weather updates. Those high winds just may signal a severe storm or worse.
Driving in the elements such as rain, fog, or high winds, can be a dangerous task. If done with caution and common sense your trip through these battering elements can be a safe one.
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