California Road Conditions (Safe Driving Tips)

California Road Conditions (Safe Driving Tips)

As seasons change, your driving methods should change, too!

Fatal accidents and collisions can happen if you don’t practice safe driving in different weather conditions. 

This is why, today, we’re going to give you some safe driving tips during common California road conditions. 

So let’s go!

Safe Driving Tips for California Road Conditions 

Safe driving tips

Whether you’re driving on hills or through floods, we’ve got some safe driving tips for you. This will help you know what to do when you’re faced with a challenging road condition. 

Safe Driving Tips at Night

The chances of fatal accidents happening at night are higher than driving during the daytime. 

One thing you should always remember when driving at night is to turn on your headlights. This is so you can see more clearly and also so that other vehicles can see you. 

If you’re driving in dark city streets or open roads, use high-beam headlights. However, you should dim your light when you’re about 500 meters from an oncoming vehicle. 

Also, avoid using high-beam headlights in areas that do not allow them.

If it’s raining, use a low-beam headlight. 

If an oncoming vehicle’s lights are too bright, here’s what you can do:

  • Do not look directly into the headlights of the vehicle
  • Watch the vehicle out of the corner of your eye
  • Look at the right edge of your lane
  • Do not keep your high-beam headlights on because it will make it harder for you and the oncoming vehicle to see

Here are some things to remember when driving at night:

  • Stay alert, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists as they are hard to see
  • Drive slowly when you leave a brightly lit place to allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness
  • Reduce speed in highway construction zones

Safe Driving Tips with Sun Glare

Sun glare is when the sunlight is obstructing the windshield during sunset and sunrise hours. Sun glares make it difficult for drivers to see what is in front of them.

Here are some ways how to manage sun glare:

  • Wear polarized sunglasses
  • Use your car visor 
  • Keep your windshield clean

All this will help counter sun glare and will make you more aware of your surroundings. 

Safe Driving Tips with Slippery Roads

When driving on slippery roads, your tires might not have enough grip. This is why you should adjust your speed according to different conditions:

  • Wet road: 5 to 10 mph slower
  • Ice: slow to a crawl
  • Packed snow: reduce speed by half

The road is more slippery during the following conditions:

  • If it suddenly rains on a hot day. The pavement will be very slippery for a couple of minutes.
  • Shades from buildings or trees hide icy spots on wet days. These areas dry out last.
  • Bridges and overpasses can hide icy spots because they freeze before the rest of the road.

Here are some tips on how to drive safely on slippery roads:

  • Slow down when you notice any sign of rain, drizzle, or snow on the road. 
  • Turn on windshield wipers, defroster, and low-beam headlights. If there’s a heavy snowstorm or rainstorm, it will be difficult for you to see more than 100 feet in front of you. 
  • From time to time, wipe off mud or snow on your headlights, taillights, and windshield. 
  • Carry snow chains when driving in snowy areas to give tires more traction
  • Slow down when the water on the road is rising
  • Avoid driving faster than 50 mph in heavy rain
  • If your vehicle starts hydroplaning, slow down and do not slam on the brakes

Safe Driving Tips in Flooded Roads

Continuously rising water on the road may cause gradual or sudden flooding. It’s dangerous and life-threatening, that’s why it’s important to understand the dangers that come with it, including:

  • Road collapse
  • Being swept off the road
  • Unseen hazards
  • Vehicle malfunctions
  • Electrocution 

When the road is flooding, it’s best to find another route.

If left with no other option, drive slowly through the flooded road. Make sure to check if your brakes are working properly once out of the water.

Safe Driving Tips in High Winds

High winds can be hazardous, especially for large vehicles such as campers and trucks. Here’s what to remember:

  • Reduce speed to gain better control of your vehicle. 
  • Strong winds can jerk the steering wheel out of your hands. Make sure to hold the steering wheel firmly. 
  • Be alert. Watch out for debris on the road. 
  • Maintain maximum control on the accelerator and do not use cruise control.
  • Be proactive

Safe Driving Tips in Fog or Heavy Smoke

It’s best to postpone your trip when there’s heavy fog or smoke. But, in case you need to drive, here are some reminders:

  • Drive slowly
  • Use low-beam headlights because high-beam headlights cause glare
  • Make sure to use fog lights
  • Increase following distance
  • If needed, use defroster and windshield wipers
  • Listen for traffic you can’t see
  • Avoid passing traffic or crossing lanes unless necessary

If you notice the fog becoming too thick, consider pulling off the road and waiting for it to wear down. If not, you can activate your emergency flashers. 

Safe Driving Tips in Hills and Curves

You never know what to expect when driving on a sharp curve or steep hill. The best thing to do is slow down so you can easily stop in case of hazards. 

If the view is blocked, assume that there is a vehicle on the other side. If there’s a vehicle in front of you, you can only pass safely if the hill or curve is one-third of a mile away.

Safe Driving Tips in Traffic Congestion

To reduce traffic congestion, avoid the following:

  • Driving a malfunctioning or poorly maintained vehicle
  • Running out of fuel or battery
  • Tailgating
  • Unnecessary lane changes
  • Distractions such as talking, grooming, using of cell phone, eating, etc

Safe Driving Tips in Traffic Breaks

Traffic breaks are used by law enforcers to respond to emergencies, prevent collisions during heavy traffic or heavy fog, and stop or slow traffic to remove any hazards from the road.

During traffic breaks, the patrol vehicle will turn on the emergency lights and weave across lanes. Here are some ways to be helpful:

  • Turn on emergency flashers to get the attention of other drivers
  • Slowly decrease speed but do not brake suddenly to prevent collision
  • Make way for the patrol vehicle 
  • Keep a safe distance from the patrol vehicle
  • Do not drive past or speed up the patrol vehicle


It’s best to be prepared for the different California road conditions to prevent fatal accidents. 

So whether you’re driving at night, with sun glare, on slippery or flooded roads, in high traffic, or whatnot, you should keep these safety tips in mind. 

If so, you’ll be able to be the best and safest driver you can be. 

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