Different road conditions require a change in the way we drive — whether that’s extra alertness, slower than normal speeds, or turning on headlights.
Now, in Louisiana, you will face a lot of changing road conditions, from driving through the seasons to driving on rural roads.
And we’re here to help you prepare for that.
Today, we’re going to give you safe driving tips for the Louisiana road conditions. This way, you know how to handle the situation and be the best and safest driver you can be.
So let’s get started!
Driving Through the Seasons
Each season will have its set of challenges on the road. Some seasons will be harder to drive in while others will be more of a challenge when it comes to car maintenance.
Here are some tips on how to drive and manage your car for each season in Louisiana.
Driving During Spring
Spring almost always feels like it’s the best time to go out – the flowers are blooming and the freezing weather is gone.
But don’t be too confident.
You have to keep these safe driving tips in mind:
- Be alert for ice or melting ice on the road. Try as much as possible to avoid the icy parts of the road.
- If possible, always stay in the middle of the road. The middle of the road is where it’s unlikely for water to pool as it usually flows to the sides of the road.
- Before leaving the house, check your tire temperature and condition. Make sure that it has enough grip so that your car doesn’t skid on wet parts of the road.
- Stay alert for people and animals on the side of the road. Since winter has passed, people and animals will tend to go out more. Be ready to stop if you see them on the side of the road.
- Avoid potholes. After winter, there might be parts of the road that are hollow or have dents. If you see them ahead, slow down gradually and avoid the pothole. If you run over a pothole, don’t suddenly brake, just drive slowly over it.
Driving During Summer
The summer months can be the crowdest time outside – on the road, in parks, you name it…
People are out and about, so expect more traffic.
When you’re driving in the summer, use these safety tips:
- Pack a pair of sunglasses with you. If the sun is too high and your eyes are sensitive to the brightness, it’s best to wear a pair of sunglasses to improve your vision.
- Slow down when approaching parks. Pedestrians might cross anytime.
- Check your car or give it some maintenance. The heat during the summer can affect your car, so it’s best to find a mechanic to check if your car is in proper working condition.
- Keep a safe distance from the car in front just in case they get drowsy. The heat can tire someone out and make them sleepy. In case a driver becomes drowsy, there’s room for you to avoid them.
Driving During Fall
When people think about fall, they think about dry leaves falling and being scattered on the floor. While this makes for a picturesque scene, fall also brings weather changes and rain.
And as a driver, here are things to do when the fall season has come:
- Check the weather report for rain. If it’s going to rain, best to stay at home. If you have to go out, check that your tires are in proper working condition.
- If you see leaves on the road, slow down when you pass them. These leaves may be wet and slippery OR they might be hiding potholes.
- If you see a pile of leaves at the side of the road and children playing near them, be prepared to slow down since they might end up crossing the road.
- Check your windshield before leaving the house and make sure that no leaves are stuck in the wipers.
Driving During Winter
Probably the most challenging road condition to drive in is during the winter. So make sure to follow all these safety tips:
- If you don’t have to leave the house during winter, don’t. The best way to stay safe on the road is to be off it.
- Always check your batteries and tires before leaving. The batter should be fully charged and your tires should be changed for the winter.
- Check your wheel alignment before leaving the house. Make sure that the tires are balanced.
- Pack an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, some jackets, bandages, and a snow pick.
- Always drive slowly even if you’re the only one on the road.
- Look out for black ice, a phenomenon where the ice on the road is transparent, making it seem like there’s no ice. Black ice tends to be very slippery.
Driving Through Rural Roads
Besides the seasons, there are other road conditions to take note of.
If you plan on going to the less urban places in Louisiana, you will have to adjust your driving because the road conditions are different. For example, there will be more gravel roads than cemented ones.
If so, here are some tips on driving in rural conditions.
Driving in Gravel and Dirt
Driving in gravel and dirt loses some traction with your tires. Because the road is bumpy, the chances of losing control are high.
When driving on these roads, slow down and increase the space between you and the car in front. Be extra aware of where you steer your car and if its tires still have traction with the road.
Driving Through Dust
When driving through dust, visibility is lessened. Turn on your low-beam lights so that you can see the road and so other vehicles can see you. Again, slow down.
Driving Over Narrow Bridges
Some bridges will be too narrow for two cars to pass side-by-side. Look out for warning signs indicating narrow bridges and be prepared to give way to oncoming traffic.
Driving Over Open Bridge Gates
Open bridge gates can affect your tires’ traction with the road. When passing through these areas, be extra aware of your tires and where you steer them. Slow down and keep a safe distance from the car in front.
Driving in Steep Hills
When approaching steep hills (whether it has a curve or not), always look out for a vehicle passing on the opposite side. If you’re turning, keep to the right of your lane and avoid oversteering.
Driving Through Railroads
Some railroads in rural areas will not have warning signs. So when you see a railroad ahead, look both ways before crossing. Listen if there are approaching trains, and if there are, prepare to stop.
Driving Through Uncontrolled Intersections
When there are no traffic lights or warning signs at an intersection, always exercise caution. Look for other vehicles at the intersection and yield the right of way. Pass when it is safe to do so.
Driving with Animals
There are places in the state that have warning signs for animal crossings. Even if you think there are no animals around, slow down anyway and be alert for animals that might show up.
If there is an animal on the road, slow down and honk. Do not honk excessively. If you do, it might panic and cross to the other lane, blocking another vehicle.
Patiently wait for it to pass and make sure they’re out of the road before you continue on your way.
Different road conditions required different driving skills.
So whenever you drive through these Louisiana road conditions, always keep the safety tips in mind.
And, regardless of what road condition you’ll be passing, it’s important to always be alert and drive within the speed limits. If you need to slow down for extra safety, do so.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.