Severe Weather Driving Tips

Severe Weather Driving Tips bb3 Sep 8, 2011

By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee

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Driving during severe weather can be scary. Be in control of your vehicle by knowing what to do when the weather turns ugly. Being prepared will help take some of the stress out of your trip.

On Ice Or Snow

  • Bridges and overpasses freeze first. Slow down and avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.
  • Keep windows clear.
  • Keep your speed steady and slow -- but not too slow. In deeper snow, it's often necessary to use the car's momentum to keep moving.
  • Use brakes cautiously. Abrupt braking can cause brake lock-up, which causes you to lose steering control.
  • Antilock brakes are designed to overcome a loss of steering control. To make antilock brakes work correctly, or work at all, you should apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal. During an emergency stop, push the brake pedal all the way to the floor, if necessary, even in wet or icy conditions.
  • If you get stuck in snow, straighten the wheels and accelerate slowly. Avoid spinning the tires. Use sand or cinders under the drive wheels.

In High Winds

  • Use extra care and consider if a trailer, van or other "high-profile" vehicle should be operated at all.
  • If driving in high winds, use extra caution near trailers, vans or vehicles carrying lightweight cargo.

When It Rains

  • Slow down. The road becomes slippery as water mixes with road oils, grease and dirt. Also, your car's tires tend to ride on the surface water, reducing traction.
  • Visibility is often impaired. Turn on your lights. Use the defroster or air conditioner to keep windows and mirrors clear.

In Severe Thunderstorms

  • Listen to your car radio and be alert.

When It's Foggy

  • Stay to the right of the roadway.
  • Turn on your headlights – day or night – to low beam.
  • If you can't see the road's edge, pull off on the right – well out of the traffic lane – and turn on the emergency flashers.

In A Hailstorm

  • Find shelter by driving under an overpass or bridge.

If You See A Tornado

  • Never try to outrun a tornado.
  • Get out of the car and find shelter. If you cannot get to a safe structure, lie down in a ditch or low area. Lie face down to protect yourself from flying debris and cover the back of your head and neck with your hands.
  • Stay alert for flash floods.

Learning Center Forum Topic

Do you adjust your driving during severe weather?
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