While icy and snowy conditions are among the most difficult of driving conditions, summer driving has its own unique hazards that can be just as dangerous. Follow these safe driving tips when a summer storm arrives.
Check the Weather Before Going on a Trip
While this isn't a driving tip per se, the best way to avoid storm-related accidents is to avoid exposing yourself to the risk. If the sky seems dark and threatening, check a Doppler radar map for storms that may be heading your way. These maps are color coded to indicate a storm's severity and will show whether more storms are following behind it. If the map shows that severe storms are coming, delay your trip until they pass.
Summer storms can be very sudden and violent. Heavy rainfall reduces visibility, which makes it difficult to see the traffic ahead of you. This is an especially dangerous situation because the cars ahead will be slowing down or even stopping.
Wet and slippery conditions increase your breaking distance, while poor visibility reduces the distance that you can see. These two factors act together to increase the chance of collision if you don't reduce your speed. Besides stopped cars, other hazards include deep puddles and road debris such as fallen branches.
Driving through puddles exposes you to the risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is a function of your vehicle weight, your tire treads, your speed and the depth of the puddle. Since it's nearly impossible to judge a puddle's depth, they should be avoided. If you must drive through them, reduce your speed accordingly.
If the road is multi-lane, drive in the middle lanes where the road surface is slightly higher than the side lanes where puddles tend to form. If your car starts to hydroplane, let up on the gas and keep your steering wheel pointing in the direction of travel until the hydroplaning stops. Avoid hard braking.
Exercise Caution in Strong Winds
Strong winds can knock down large branches or even entire trees into the road. Look far ahead on the road for windblown debris. Don't drive next to other vehicles because wind gusts can cause you or them to suddenly veer off course.
The greatest danger to driving in a summer storm is complacency and failing to adjust your driving accordingly. Follow these tips, use your common sense and drive safely.
Get the protection you need. Call Johnston & Associates Insurance at (615) 716-2123 for more information on Nashville auto insurance.