Winter makes for extremely adverse driving conditions for all road users, no matter their level of experience.
Getting behind the wheel during a heavy storm or downpour is one of the most challenging encounters for drivers and is no doubt associated with high accident rates. In the months of June, July and August, it pays to be extra cautious of your driving style. It is highly recommended to avoid driving in these hectic conditions if you can.
If you have no choice, use the following 5 winter driving tips that will help you arrive safely at your destination:
- Ensure all of your vehicles controls are in working order before you leave the driveway.
This includes double checking your wipers, headlights and tail lights, your hazards, and windshield wipers are functioning. Making sure your tires are properly inflated is vital. It is also important to completely defrost your front and back windshields to ensure you can clearly see out of them. You can do this by pouring tap water onto them – not boiling water as this will cause the glass to crack!
- Keep Under the Speed Limit
Speeding is always a no-no and doing so in slippery conditions is just asking for trouble. So depending on the severity of the conditions, keep below the speed limit even if it’s not a busy road. Also, if you are driving on a non-busy freeway during heavy rain, avoid using cruise control as braking will be required to negotiate upcoming bends. Cruise control is for drivers who have one less thing to concentrate on in safe circumstances.
During substantial rain you should be 110 percent focused on all aspects of driving!
- Lighten Up
In heavy rain, it is imperative to drive with your headlights on, even during the day! Lights increase your visibility to other road users as well as allowing you to see them. Don’t be afraid to use your high beams, especially if it is dark and late in the night.
- Keep Your Distance
Retain a greater distance from your car to the one in front of you than you usually would in otherwise perfect conditions. You may be forced to brake heavily due to an upcoming road accident and keeping a more than safe distance will allow you to avoid a collision with the car ahead.
Braking is also made more difficult in the wet, which is another important reason for maintaining a safe distance from other traffic.
- Give It Time
Allow extra time to get to your destination. In other words, if you say you’ll be there in ten, you’ll realistically get there in 15-20 minutes as you are expected to slow down to a safe speed. You will be forced to drive slower due to a number of factors, including congested road conditions and potential crashes that may delay you from getting to your destination.
Unfortunately, even if you try your best to drive responsibly and defensively, accidents can still happen. After a car accident, there are important steps you should take to ensure your own safety, and the safety of others involved. For this reason, Aussie Driver has created a handy Car Crash Checklist, which is available now to download from our website HERE.