Long Rides and Bad Weather – What to Bear in MindMark Osbourne October 23, 2014
Driving to your favorite vacation spot can often be a real pleasure – some days, when you pack your bags, sit in your car and start the engine, the spirit of journeying washes over you, making you almost wish for longer roads and more distant destinations. The wind passes through the open window and goes through your hair, the sun is gently warming you while you let your mind drift away, eyes on the long white line ahead.
Then again, there are days when the weather is so bad you would rather drink a chili pepper juice than get out of your house and sit in the car. This article is meant for one of those days. Here are a few general tips on how to behave when you have to go out and face the elements which lie between you and your well deserved rest.
Snow often presents a bigger challenge than you expect.
Apart from the visibility problem, falling snow generates a slippery layer on the road which looks deceptively manageable. This is the reason why people usually startle and panic when their vehicle starts to slide, instinctively pushing the brake pedal. What this does is it removes traction and makes your car unmanageable. Instead, if your car starts sliding, slowly loose the accelerator pedal and just wait till the car slows down by itself.
Heavy rain is manageable, but you need pay attention and be patient.
Driving in the rain is always a challenge, so remember to give yourself some breathing space. Keep the distance with the car ahead of you and adjust the speed accordingly. Paying a visit to your car mechanic and having your brakes checked before the trip is always a wise idea. And remember – the speed you can afford in the pouring rain is directly proportional to the state and the quality of your tyres. Using radial tyres is guaranteed to offer you better stability than those made of polyester, however, any old and spent tyre will perform badly. Always make sure you have tyres ready for replacement.
Wind can seriously diminish your ability to stay in the course.
When driving in strong wind, your main concern should be to keep driving in the straight line, while at the same time being very aware of your fellow drivers around you. Cars entering your path are a surprisingly common thing due to the fact that drivers usually do not follow the advice from the first sentence of the paragraph, so watch out!
Icy road patches can appear out of nowhere, but there are some places where they can be expected.
With ice the things are more or less the same as with snow, but the danger is multiplied manifolds. The places where you should take greatest care are bridges and overpasses which are usually first to have a layer of ice on them. Watch out for the roads with little to no traffic – ice tends to survive longer on them. Switch the lights on to increase your own visibility and be on alert for possible incidents around you. Also, pay attention to the phenomenon known as black ice.
The best way to drive in the fog is to not drive in the fog.
As the tip suggests, try to avoid fog. Listen to the local radio stations and see if their weather reports say something about foggy areas for that day. If you happen to drive in fog anyway, make sure your fog lights are on and, in case you do not have them, switch to low lights at all times – high beam headlights will be reflected in fog particles making the drive less safe for everyone.