There are a few important points that you need to remember if you are caught in bad weather and the road conditions are poor.

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Driving in bad weather causes a real challenge for most drivers, especially for those who live in regions that don’t often see snow and icy road conditions.  Poor road conditions can also be caused when you encounter heavy fog or a bad rain storm hits.  Safe driving techniques are important to use at all times, but needed even more in bad weather!

Improve your driving on bad roads with these tips:

Look far enough ahead to see what is going on in the road.  If you are looking at least 15 seconds ahead you will be able to spot conditions that might affect they way you are driving.  In bad weather watch for cars that swerving, braking, or sliding off of the side of the road.  In rainy weather watch for cars that have hit large pools of water that are spraying so you can possible change lanes or reduce speed to avoid them.  If you are watching ahead you might be able to react properly and avoid a dangerous situation.

Pay attention to high traffic roadways because snow and ice can get packed down with a lot of vehicles traveling on it, as this will make the roads slicker than normal. 

Anticipate problems at road intersections and watch for drivers that aren’t slowing down fast enough as they can slide right through a stop sign. 


The best advice in adverse weather condition when driving is to slow down!  With snow, ice, and other bad road conditions, you will experience a dramatic loss of traction with your vehicle.  Sudden braking or turning will cause you to lose control.  By looking ahead you can avoid sudden stops and starts.

When the temperature is 25 to 30 degrees in snow or wet conditions you can experience worse road conditions and may encounter “black ice.”  Tires will actually get more traction on solidly frozen roads at very cold temperatures than they do on wet snow on moderately cold weather.

Gentle, early braking will reduce the loss of traction with your vehicle.  It will also signal the drivers in vehicles that are behind you to slow down. 

If you can’t see, slow down!  There can be many dangers lurking ahead and with a slower speed you will remain in control.

Look ahead for fog banks or heavy rain conditions that might be farther down the road.  By anticipating these, you can adjust your speed and drive accordingly.

Don’t trust the other drivers on the road.  Always drive defensively, especially in bad weather conditions and there are many inexperienced drivers on the roads.

Avoid passing large vehicles or big rigs.  They will throw off more water and snow and if you are trying to pass them, your windshield wipers might now be able to keep up with the flow that hits your car.  Anticipate this when you see them approaching from the opposite directions as well.

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Keep your eyes moving from the front and sides to find important changes in traffic and road conditions.

Check your mirrors constantly, every five to eight seconds are recommended.  You might be able to see threatening conditions from the rear or the sides and avoid problems.

Don’t run in packs!  Drivers will tend to bunch up in poor conditions.  Avoid the packs and try to stay a safe distance away.  This will let you avoid accidents if someone starts sliding.

If visibility is bad, don’t stop on the side of the road unless you have an emergency.  Find a safe driveway to pull off into.  Don’t pass lines of traffic unless you must.

Never cross a flooded roadway.  Just a few inches of water can be moving very fast and carry your vehicle away.

Always drive with your headlights on, especially in bad weather conditions.

Turn on signals and use your brake lights early to warn other drivers of your intentions.  This way they can adjust their driving to your actions.

Make sure wiper blades are in good condition and that you have plenty of windshield cleaning fluid. 

Use your defrosters on your windshield and rear windows (if you have them) to keep a clear vision.

Clean off your headlights, taillights and outside mirrors regularly.

Eliminate in-vehicle distractions.  Ask passengers to not distract you, do not use your cell phone, avoid glancing at your navigation system or maps, and don’t eat while driving.  All of these distractions will hamper your driving abilities.

If you do start to slide, ease off the gas pedal and turn the steering wheel into the skid.  If you anti-lock brakes, do not pump them!  If you slid with non-anti-lock brakes, let up on the brakes and then brake gently. 

If you begin to hydroplane on a wet road, reduce your speed.  It is hard to know when you might start hydroplaning so anticipate that you will encounter this problem and slow down well ahead of time.

If you do get stuck in the ice or snow, try using your floor mats under the edge of the tire to give them a little traction. 

Do not use overdrive in snowy conditions.  Keep your vehicle in lower gears.

Make sure your tail pipe does not get packed with snow.  Backing in a snow bank or other conditions can cause this so double check it if you have gotten stuck.  You could get sick or even die from carbon monoxide poisoning if your tail pipe has become full of snow or ice and gets blocked. 

Be very careful on bridges and overpasses as they usually have ice on them.  Slow down when approaching them. 

Make sure you have good tread on your tires during bad weather seasons. 

Always pack an emergency kit with your.  This kit should include a good flashlight, small shovel, flares, blankets, first aid kid, extra pieces of warm clothing and winter boots.  A good cell phone is a must when traveling in bad weather.

If you encounter bad weather, check your local road condition report before starting out on the road.

If at all possible, when bad weather happens, postpone driving and stay off of the road!