Weather will affect the roadways.
Because of this, you need to be familiar with the safe driving tips for any type of road condition.
If you’re from Alaska, then we’ve got you covered.
Today, we’ll be talking all about the Alaska road conditions and what to do when you’re faced with them. In turn, this will help you to become a better and safer driver on the Alaska roads.
So shall we?
Note: you can use Alaska’s KNOW B4 U Go tracker, which will help you see the road surface condition, atmospheric condition, warnings, and more in a certain location.
Safe Driving Tips in the Rain
Rain is the most common dangerous weather condition while driving.
We say dangerous because drivers who face strong downpours and low visibility are more accident-prone. Plus, rainfall can make roads very slippery and windshields blurry.
So if you’re driving under this road condition, here are some safety tips to consider.
- First of all, keep your speed at the most manageable level possible. This allows you more control on the road and less skidding.
- Remember to wear your seatbelt even at reduced speed. Sure, nothing might happen, but it’s always best to keep safe.
- Slowly turn your car away from obstacles. Sudden turns cause accidents, especially when visibility is lowered for all drivers.
- Avoid puddles. If it’s covering markings on the road – it’s too deep. If you submerge your tires in deep puddles, you might pull a “Moses” on the road. You might not know it, but this could be dangerous to other drivers and risk your car for engine troubles.
- Turn your headlights on. It’s better to use a low beam as a high beam can reflect moisture and make it harder to see surrounding areas. If you have fog lights, then that is your best option.
- Another thing, make sure you’re aware of road signs in rainy weather.
Motorists should keep their eyes open for road signs that indicate caution on specific roads.
Weather-specific road signs are put up temporarily to give drivers a heads-up on the road.
Safe Driving Tips During Winter
When winter arrives, you will have to be extra careful when driving, especially when it snows hard. Here are some safety tips to consider.
- Use winter tires.
As the name implies, these tires are made specifically for winter. As such, the design, tread, and even material are all working to keep traction, maneuverability, and control while driving in thick snow or ice.
- Slow down.
Of course, the best way to keep safe, even if you have winter tires, is to JUST SLOW DOWN. We don’t care if you’re in a hurry, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Wear your seatbelt.
Drivers and passengers should be strapped in at all times. However, even passengers seated in the back are advised to wear their seatbelts during snow days.
- Stay alert.
You need to maintain total control over your vehicle. Stay alert to maneuver out of harm’s way at all times.
- WATCH OUT FOR BLACK ICE.
This is a leading cause of fatal collisions during winter. They can be hard to spot at times, especially with decreased visibility.
Roads that look shiny are likely to be black ice. Avoid them at all costs.
If you can’t avoid black ice patches, ensure you travel at minimum speed as you cross.
- Check for road signs during snowfall.
Watch out for yellow and orange signs.
Pay attention to what’s written on these signs. Don’t ignore caution and warning labels.
If you are entering icy roads, find a spot to park safely. Check for possible detours. If there are none, proceed with extreme caution.
Don’t overestimate your abilities. Black ice can endanger the lives of even the most experienced driver.
What You Should Do When You Skid, Slip, or Slide
Okay, so you follow all the safety tips when driving in the rain and snow. However, what if you can’t help skidding, slipping, or sliding.
What should you do then?
Here are some remedies to keep in mind when you come at odds with the worst-case scenario.
Don’t panic – you are already skidding off the road, don’t lose your head.
Maintain mental awareness with every move you make. You must always be aware of your surrounding environment.
Direct the wheel in the direction you are skidding – don’t go against the grain at this point. It’s too late.
You will only pose more risk to yourself and others by swerving into other lanes.
Direct the wheel forward and release the gas pedal.
Don’t punch the brake – take your foot off the gas, and ease onto the brakes.
You might also swerve out of control by slamming on the brakes or risk your car tipping over.
Oversteering or overcorrecting might cause you to lose control even further.
The safest way out of skidding is easing off its suddenly increased velocity in the same trajectory.
Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast!
You will only add fuel to the fire by reacting quickly rather than wisely.
Responding too quickly might pile problems on top of each other, causing even more damage.
Safe Driving Tips in Fog
During winter, fog is imminent.
Prepare yourself for thick fog if you intend on driving near bodies of water like the Kenai Lake, Chena River, and Knik River.
These places are known for ice fog. The density of which can be overwhelming to most drivers.
This kind of fog occurs when humidity approaches 100%, and temperatures drop to 32° Fahrenheit (0°C). The combination cultivates droplets to remain liquid and suspended up to -40° Fahrenheit.
The best advice we can give for this is to always remember slow is safe and fast is negligent.
Fog lights are a must, too. It should come in a yellowish color that cuts through fog better than regular headlights.
Safe Driving Tips for Animal Crossing
Now that we’ve talked about weather conditions, let’s talk about other situations.
There are a lot of animals that cross roads, and we’re not just talking small animals!
We’re talking moose and deer!
Hitting large game animals poses the biggest risk to motorists. The impact of hitting one at high velocity is equivalent to hitting a cement roadblock.
So here are some things to keep in mind.
- If you see one crossing, slow down and look out for more. Also, reduce your speed when you see one by the roadside as it may suddenly cross.
- These animals also tend to travel more during dusk and dawn.
- After passing them safely, you can briefly flash your headlights at motorists headed in that direction to caution them. Alaskans are familiar with this cue, and you might save them from an accident by doing so.
- If it’s too late to avoid hitting them, DO NOT SWERVE out of the way. You might end up swerving onto oncoming traffic, hitting a pedestrian or road fixture instead. Remember, you have better chances of surviving a collision with the animal instead of another vehicle or objects rooted to the ground.
- If your seatbelt is on and fastened correctly, slam on the breaks as safely and firmly as you can. If your seatbelt isn’t on, take your foot off the gas and brace yourself! This might reduce the damage to your vehicle and even save its life.
- If you do hit an animal, alert the authorities as soon as possible. Call Alaska’s State Troopers or Fish & Wildlife Officers and tell them where and when the accident occurred.
- Keep your eyes peeled for signs that indicate animal activity in the area.
Safe Driving Tips at Night
In Alaska, you face even more odds at night with animals crossing, temperatures dropping, and fewer city lights to guide you.
Here are some safety tips to consider when driving at night.
- Ensure your headlights are in good condition.
Before exiting your garage or driveway, check if your lights are clean and functional.
- Keep that windshield clean and clear.
Before you go out, give your windshield a quick clean. You don’t need anything impairing your night vision.
- Carry emergency lights.
Keep flares and flashlights in your car. If your car breaks down, use flares to alert others of your location and use flashlights when you step down anywhere dark.
- Don’t drive drowsy.
If you take any substance impairing your faculties, hand the keys to someone else.
Light Laws in Alaska
Familiarize yourself with the state’s law to prevent getting cited and incurring points on your record.
These laws apply 24/7 and not just at night.
- Turn your headlights on a half-hour before sunrise and after sunset.
- Turn your headlights on when fog, snow, rain, or smog decrease visibility to 1000 feet or less.
- Switch to low beams when cars from the opposing lanes are within 500 feet and 300 feet when approaching cars within your lane.
- Only use parking lights when parked and never when your vehicle is in motion.
So there you have it.
Those were the Alaska road condition safety tips.
Always remember, the best way to keep safe is to slow down, wear your seatbelt, always be on the alert, and never dismiss cautionary signs.
And if something does happen, slow and steady wins the race. Don’t panic.
Also, remember to check Alaska’s KNOW B4 U GO tracker before driving within state lines.