Driving in Extreme Weather

May 22, 2023 | Business Insurance, Personal Insurance

All drivers encounter adverse weather conditions at some point. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the modifications to driving style that are necessary. According to statistics and research conducted in the US, 24% of all crashes take place in inclement weather, such as ice, snow, and rain.

We are used to driving in lovely, bright weather most of the time in South Africa. Many young drivers have their licenses but have never encountered the difficulties brought on by inclement weather. It is the responsibility of the driver to be aware of how to modify his or her driving to suit the circumstances of the road.

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Road Conditions

Transitioning to safer driving methods ensures a smoother journey despite challenging road conditions. Drivers must adjust their driving habits to adverse weather conditions, compromising their ability to steer and brake safely, requiring heightened caution. Consulting in-depth discussions on the Arrive Alive website offers valuable insights into specific weather scenarios, aiding in navigating safely.

  • Driving under unfavourable weather conditions includes:
  • Rain
  • Flooding
  • Snow
  • Mist and fog
  • hailstorms
  • veld and woodland fire smoke
  • powerful winds
  • extremes of both heat and cold
  • From dawn to dusk, I always face the sun.

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We must acknowledge that the motorist may face some unusual obstacles because of these circumstances. These would consist of:

  • diminished visibility
  • less ability to steer
  • less traction
  • increased amount of space and time needed to stop the car.

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The Smaller Details

To stay safe on the road in extreme weather, drivers need to have specialized abilities. Tyre hydroplaning can be caused by wet road surfaces (skim on a thin layer of water). As wind limits steering control, it causes drivers additional issues.

It can be particularly risky for trucks hauling trailers and leisure vehicles.

Motorcyclists and cars with high sides are particularly at risk from severe winds.

SUVs and vans may swerve due to crosswinds.

As you travel through mountain passes and ravines, traverse culverts or bridges, or experience sudden gusts of wind, there may be a special risk.

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A little gust can also blow by you as a big truck or bus passes you.

The unusual obstacles have an impact on your awareness of other road users and objects, as well as your ability to manoeuvre and operate the vehicle.

Drivers must exercise extra caution when following cargo vehicles since they produce a lot of spray, which impairs visibility. Hold back to where you can view their mirrors as much as possible.

Strong winds and unfavourable weather conditions may increase the likelihood of debris dropping or falling on the road and vehicles diverting across the road to escape such material.

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Prioritize vulnerable users like cyclists and pedestrians. Beware of hidden hazards in surface water. They might cause tyre damage or stall. Avoid driving near trees at risk of falling. Stay mindful of animals near broken fences. Opt to avoid driving if possible.

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Be cautious and steer clear of downed power lines since they may fall adjacent to or on the roads due to unfavourable weather conditions.

Driving through smoke from forest or brush fires can be risky since it can appear suddenly, without warning, and it can be very dense.

Sand clouds can also considerably obstruct the view.

Some motorists could choose to avoid overtaking when visibility is poor rather than utilizing their headlights as required by law.

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Things to consider before driving in poor weather

Most of us have the choice of facing these difficult driving circumstances or avoiding them if we are not caught off guard by rapid changes in the weather. Avoiding driving altogether in exceptionally poor weather is the safest approach to staying safe. The easiest approach to avoid an accident or other issue on the road in bad weather is to simply stay at home and wait for the conditions to change, even for the most experienced driver in the greatest vehicle. If there is an extreme weather system going through your area, it is preferable to delay a trip and stay at home rather than drive.

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It’s crucial to prepare for the drive if you must be on the road. It normally takes longer and is more stressful to drive in severe weather. Your stress level will rise if you don’t give yourself enough time to get there, which could hurt your driving. You will be better equipped to face adverse

circumstances if they do occur to you if you prepare in advance for the bad weather and the challenges it may bring your way.

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Tips For Driving Safely in Bad Weather:

Inclement weather driving advice is provided below:

Think ahead. It normally takes longer and is more stressful to drive in severe weather. Running late because you didn’t give yourself enough time to get there will just make you more stressed and could hurt your driving.

Drive carefully. This goes along with the last point; in terrible weather, you should drive more slowly than usual. As a result, there are fewer accidents and skids.

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Allow space in front. When driving in the rain, snow, sleet, etc., many experts advise increasing the “cushion” between you and the vehicle in front of you. Given these circumstances, you must give yourself additional leeway when applying the brakes.

Drive carefully. This goes along with the last point; in terrible weather, you should drive more slowly than usual. As a result, there are fewer accidents and skids.

Settle in! Make sure you and your passengers are always buckled in. In addition to being legal in most states, doing so can also save lives, particularly when driving in poor weather.

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