As drivers in Alabama, we know that driving conditions can drastically change depending on the season, weather, and time of day.
For example, the National Safety Council urges riders to take better care when on the road at night as traffic fatality rates are 3x higher at night than during the day.
The same can be said for wet conditions.
Now, these rapid changes in driving conditions can mean life or death for many of us drivers.
And we want you to be as safe as possible.
So we’re going to share a few safe driving tips for all season in good ol’ Alabama.
If that’s something you want to learn more about, keep on reading!
IMPORTANT: The tips we will be sharing are only applicable in the State of Alabama. If you’re driving in a different state, please do your research.
Safe Driving Tips at Night
Let’s start with your nighttime excursions.
It’s fun to nab a buddy and go on a joyride after hours, but driving in the nighttime is a lot more dangerous than when you are driving during the day.
Drunk drivers, fatigue, reduced visibility, and people with bad intentions will be out and about during this time of day.
However, we can’t force you to not drive during the night. So instead, here are a few ways that you can keep yourself, and your passengers safe:
Channel your inner grandma
We know you want to try those scenes in movies where people “punch it” and drive as fast as the wind can carry them while singing at the top of their lungs.
But maybe don’t do that
Speeding is one of the major causes of collisions, especially during the evenings. If a car suddenly pulls out in front of you or a deer suddenly runs across your field of view, you will not have enough time to react and avoid a crash.
So try to drive at a normal speed. Anyways, you can still blast your favorite Paramore or Slipknot albums!
Remove all distractions
This one seems like a no-brainer. “Don’t get distracted” is something we are told often when we start learning how to drive. But many people forget this.
They take a bite of their sandwich, take a few slurps from their smoothies, or even briefly look away to change the music on their phone.
It is important to remember that anything that can take your attention away from the road can result in a fatal crash. So maybe pull up to a curb or park somewhere safe before you start munching on your food or changing your tunes.
Keep your windshield and headlights squeaky clean
Reduced vision is one of the common issues drivers face when driving at night. So before you head out for a get-together with old friends or go home from a long day of work, do a thorough wiping of both the inside and outside of your windshields. Make sure your lights are working well to ensure optimum illumination when you hit the road.
Stay home if you’re tired
Listen to your body. We know you want to have out with old buddies, but if you are feeling tired, stay home!
Driving while exhausted is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you have a night out planned with your friends, and you’re tired to the bone, try as much as possible to avoid driving. Maybe you can let someone pick you up?
Safe Driving Tips in the Rain
Now, let’s talk about driving during the rainy weather.
We have all been guilty of underestimating wet roads. Heck, very few of us feel bothered when we have to drive somewhere on a rainy day.
But wet roads are still dangerous.
Many car accidents happen during rainy days because drivers were not being careful.
Sure, you can check ALGO Traffic before you head out, but there is no such thing as “too careful” when it comes to driving when it pours. So we’re going to give a few tips that will help make sure you get to and from your destination safe and sound!
Make sure everything is in working order
Before you leave, make sure you have enough gas for your trip, your windshield wipers work, your headlights are clean, and your brake lights are not dimming.
Also, make sure to spot your vehicle’s brakes and to use the right tires for the weather conditions. If you notice that your tires are cracked or “bald”, it’s a good idea to replace them before heading out.
Use defensive driving strategies
Defensive driving strategies are there to help drivers make safe decisions and avoid negligent drivers and dangerous situations.
Driving defensively in rainy weather means:
- Avoiding heavy braking
- Keeping a good amount of distance between you and other vehicles
- Driving at a slow or normal pace
Safe Driving Tips in the Mountains
Driving in the mountains can be an exhilarating experience. We get to see beautiful sceneries, get a whiff of fresh air, and see cute woodland creatures going about their day.
But driving in the mountains is as dangerous as it is beautiful.
So here are a few tips to ensure a smooth and safe ride on the mountainside of Alabama!
Know the road conditions
Check the ALGO Traffic app for any news on your chosen routes. You have to be prepared for any type of situation, be it fog, rain, or snow, especially when driving up the mountains in Alabama.
Don’t forget to check your news channel for more news about local weather and road conditions that may affect your drive.
Prep for the altitude changes
Changes in altitude affect the human body in bigger ways than you think. The higher the altitude, the less oxygen is in the air, which can lead to headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
Keep yourself safe by:
- Carrying more than enough drinking water
- Drink two or three times more fluid than you usually do
- Eat frequent small snacks
- Take regular breaks to avoid driver fatigue
- Decrease your salt intake
Know your car
Can your car handle steep roads? Can your brakes handle parking on an incline? Do you have enough gas? Are your headlights bright enough for driving through the fog? Are you using the right tires?
Know whether your vehicle can handle a drive up the mountains here in Alabama. If not, rent out a vehicle that can handle the stress of the climb.
Obey the speed limit
We can’t stress this tip enough! When driving up a mountain, make sure you:
- Strictly follow the speed limit
- Look out for street signs
- Only pass slow-moving traffic if you have a clear view of the road in front of you
- Make sure to switch on your lights when driving in dimly lit or dark roads/tunnels
- Reduce your speed during and after bad weather conditions
And there you have it! Those were all the tips we could give you to ensure safety when driving in different seasons and road conditions in Alabama.
Before you head out, always be sure to check the ALGO Traffic app to get notifications on road closures, accidents, traffic congestion, etc.
Just keep all these tips in mind and you’ll have a lower risk of getting into traffic accidents.
Drive safe and take care!
This article is part of our series on Alabama Driving Laws. You can view all these laws here!