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Five Smart Tips for Driving in Poor Weather

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Even the most cautious and diligent motorist can experience difficulties when attempting to drive through poor weather. Deteriorating weather can lead to rapidly shifting road conditions and anxious fellow travelers. Federal statistics show more than 30,000 people die every year in the U.S. as a result of road accidents—and poor weather is often a contributing or primary factor.

To help you safely navigate poor-weather scenarios, below are some practical tips for bad-weather driving.

Be Sure You're Prepared

When you're dealing with powerful thunderstorms, ice, or snow, a well-maintained vehicle often makes all the difference. Tires without sufficient tread can lead to your vehicle sliding on the road. Old windshield wiper blades can dramatically lower your visibility just when you need it most. Older headlights can become dimmer with time, making it harder for others to see your vehicle. To avoid these scenarios, be sure you stay on top of basic vehicle maintenance.

Adjust Your Driving Style

The first rule of poor weather driving is slowing down. Reducing your speed is essential, as bad weather can create hazardous roads. Proceeding more slowly also gives you additional time to react if something unexpected occurs. You should also give other vehicles a wider berth than you would in good weather. That added bit of space can be critically important if you need to move out of harm's way. Avoiding sudden moves is also important, as you need to maintain strict control over your vehicle.

Monitor the Landscape

When traveling in poor weather, keep your eyes open for developing hazards. Black ice, which begins to form on the road when temperatures drop near freezing, is particularly dangerous because it can be difficult to identify. If you see patches of road that appear damp, exercise caution. You should also pay close attention to how other motorists are driving, be careful around curves and elevation changes, and slow down in areas prone to backups (for example bridges).

Pull Over If Necessary

Sometimes weather simply becomes too dangerous to proceed normally. In such cases, pull over as soon as you safely can. Try to avoid parking near the road, as this can be dangerous. Monitor your radio for changing weather reports. Be sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any obstructions to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Reach Out to Your Insurance Agent

Because poor weather increases the risks of the road, contact your local insurance agent to be sure you have all the coverage necessary to protect yourself.

The Takeaway

Driving in poor weather can be a challenge for even the most experienced and safety-conscious motorist. Follow these tips to help ensure you get home safe and sound after your travels.

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