If you’re a new driver or have recently moved into the state, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Arkansas road conditions.
On the road, anything can happen in a blink of an eye. You want to be prepared for possible hazards and accidents, so you can minimize damage and injury.
In this article, we give you tips on how to adjust to Arkansas road conditions, as well as the state’s traffic flow.
Adjusting to Arkansas Road Conditions
Certain road conditions call for specific maneuvers to keep the driver and their passengers safe. For example, when driving on frosty, ice-covered roads, drivers need to reduce their speed. This is so the tires can make better contact with the road.
Here, we’ll look at other possible road conditions you may encounter while driving in Arkansas.
Vehicles travel much faster and more effectively in a straight line. However, curved roads are an entirely different story – especially when you’re driving in Arkansas’ famous Dragon Tail.
The Dragon Tail is a 60-mile long highway that curves all the way to the end. If you’re ever looking for a white-knuckled driving adventure, this is the place to go.
Just remember that driving too fast on a curved road can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. As a result, your vehicle may skid and drive off the road, increasing your risk of collision.
Drivers are encouraged to slow down before a curve, so they don’t need to put extra pressure on their brakes while driving. Suddenly stepping on the brakes can also cause the vehicle to skid.
Slippery roads can be caused by both snow and rain – and you can see a lot of those in Arkansas.
Extreme conditions like these can make roads slippery, so it’s much harder for vehicles to stay stable. Why?
Your car’s tires rely heavily on the grip they have on the pavement surface. Water, sleet, and snow can decrease that grip, making it much harder for cars to stabilize.
So, what can you do when you’re faced with this same condition?
Reduce your speed by about 10mph. And, if you plan to drive regularly in the snow and rain, it’s a good idea to use designated winter or rain tires.
If the road is icy, it’s best that you don’t drive at all. However, if it can’t be helped, make sure to use studded tires to help break through sleet on the roadways.
When it starts to rain after a particularly hot day, the pavement can get significantly more slippery. This is due to the oil secreted by the asphalt in the first couple of minutes.
Wait a few minutes before heading out to allow the oils to wash off naturally from the road.
Water Over the Roadway
On wet roads, most tires can maintain traction up to 35mph. Once you start hitting 50mph, you can lose most of that traction, increasing your risk of accidents.
We can look at tires the same way we loot at water skis. The faster you move over water using this equipment, the more your tires will start to ride up on the water.
This process is often referred to as hydroplaning. And the best way to keep hydroplaning to a minimum is to reduce your driving speed.
All that said, what do you do when your tires start to hydroplane?
Here are a few tips you can use:
- Ease your foot off the gas pedal to reduce your speed
- Try to keep the steering wheel straight so you don’t skid off the road
- If you have to turn the wheel, do so slowly to avoid losing control
- Avoid pressing on the brakes until your car has successfully slowed down
Adjusting to Arkansas Traffic Flow
To avoid colliding with others on Arkansas’ highways, here are a few techniques you can use.
Drivers need to pay special attention to the pace that everyone else is driving. Going too fast can put you at a higher risk of colliding with other vehicles. The same can be said about driving too slow.
To keep pace with everyone else, try and analyze your surroundings. How fast are the vehicles around you going? Is anyone getting too close to your bumper?
Adjust your speed according to what you observe.
Merging with Traffic
When trying to merge with ongoing traffic, it’s important to enter the highway at the same speed as everyone else.
After all, you don’t want other drivers accidentally colliding with you.
Most highways have a ramp to pick up speed.
Once you get on said ramp, avoid making any unnecessary stops. This is because other drivers won’t expect you to stop, which may cause them to accidentally crash into you.
Note: Don’t forget to check your blind spots when merging with traffic. Take a quick glance over your shoulder to make sure you don’t collide with other cars on the road.
Just as there’s a proper way to merge with traffic, there’s also a proper way to make an exit.
Most highway exits will have an exit ramp where cars can decelerate. Don’t attempt to slow down until you reach the exit ramp.
If you slow down too soon, other cars can collide with you from behind – and that wouldn’t paint a pretty picture.
Remember to use your turn signals to tell other drivers which direction you’re exiting.
Slow Moving Traffic
Occassionally, drivers will encounter other cars that are either not made for high-speed driving or are experiencing mechanical issues causing them to slow down.
If that happens, the only way you can avoid experiencing any accidents is to:
- Slow down
- Change lanes
To slow down, carefully ease your foot off the gas pedal. Don’t do it too suddenly; otherwise, you may cause an accident.
Meanwhile, if you’re changing lanes, use proper turn signals to tell other drivers of your plans to switch lanes.
Tractors, trucks, animal-drawn vehicles, and roadway maintenance vehicles are often classified as “slow-moving” vehicles. When you see them on the road or street, make sure to decelerate as soon as you can.
These roads are particularly hard to maneuver because they’re either too narrow or packed with parked cars.
The best way to respond to this type of situation is to reduce your speed and keep your eyes peeled for other cars. Move slowly with the flow and don’t speed up unless you’re completely free from the crowd.
When you drive in Arkansas, you will meet several road conditions.
So make sure that you’re always aware of these conditions. And most importantly, make sure you know how to maneuver around them.
In this article, we talked about the basic Arkansas road conditions. Now that you know this, make sure you keep safe while driving!