In North Carolina, there are all sorts of road conditions that you’ll meet…
Work zones with lots of hazards…
Heavy rain that leads to slippery roads and less visibility…
Thick fog that makes all objects disappear from view…
How do you drive safely through these North Carolina road conditions?
Well, we’re here to give you important safe driving tips to keep you and everyone safe.
So let’s dive right in!
Safe Driving Tips for North Carolina Road Conditions
We’ll look at the safe driving tips for these North Carolina road conditions:
- Work zones
- Sun glare
- Heavy rain
- Snow and ice
How to Drive Safely in Work Zones
What to expect: A work zone is where construction or maintenance activities are ongoing. Sometimes, it’s right on the lane you’re using or those adjacent to it, affecting the traffic flow.
However, even if it isn’t, it still poses additional challenges to those behind the wheel. For example, you’re more likely to become distracted while driving through a work zone because of the different things around you.
What you should do: When passing a work zone, doing the following tips will increase safety for all:
- Be alert when you enter the area. You’ll know you’re in a work zone when you see orange signs with black markings.
- Pay attention to what the signs instruct you to do. Sometimes, you’ll need to switch to a different lane to avoid hazards.
- Don’t wait until the last minute. You’ll see work zone warning signs in advance. It’s best to prepare to make the necessary adjustments early. This way you won’t affect the traffic flow.
- Follow the posted speed limit. It’s not simply about driving too fast in a work zone — driving too slow is just as dangerous. The activity and the presence of machinery and equipment reduce the space to maneuver. Vehicles following you might crash into you because there is no alternate route.
- Take note of traffic control devices. Besides warning signs, you may also encounter barricades, cones, drums, or flaggers. These typically guide you through the work area and help you navigate it safely.
How to Drive Safely at Night
What to expect: Most drivers spend their hours behind the wheel during the day — only a fourth of their time driving is at night. However, 50% of traffic fatalities from motor vehicle accidents happen after sunset.
It’s not surprising. Night driving is riskier because of many factors. These include:
- You can’t see as well as you can during the day
- You’re more likely to share the road with impaired drivers
- Drivers are more likely to experience fatigue and drowsiness at night
- Oncoming traffic may blind you with their headlights
- A dirty windshield or headlights may cause challenges while driving
What you should do: Fortunately, you can do several things to avoid getting into a crash at night. Here are some strategies to keep in mind:
- Blink your high beams once if the vehicle coming from the opposite direction doesn’t dim its lights.
- Ensure to keep your lights dim — you don’t want to blind those on the opposite side of the road.
- If possible, stay on the right side of the road. You can use the edge line as a guide.
- Don’t exceed the allowable speed limit. Consider the stopping distance you need, given how much of the road you can see.
- Turn your emergency flashers on when you stop along a highway, but turn your headlights off.
How to Drive Safely with Sun Glare
What to expect: Not all driving hazards are in the dark. When the sun is low on the horizon — just after sunrise or before sunset — its rays can get in your eyes.
Whether the glare hits directly or through a reflection, it can temporarily blind drivers. It can also cause visual illusions, which can distort depth perception.
What’s more, sun glares make determining contrast, size, and motion more challenging.
What you should do: Since the environment causes the glares, there’s no changing that. However, wearing sunglasses when driving can help.
If driving remains challenging even with shades on, pull over. It’s a safer alternative than staying on the road.
How to Drive Safely in Heavy Rain
What to expect: Visibility becomes a problem when it pours. Even with your wipers at their fastest, you may still be able to see very little in front of you.
Wet roads are typically more slippery, too, making it more difficult to control your vehicle.
What you should do: Speed is not your friend during a downpour. The wisest thing to do is slow down.
Little to no visibility makes crashes more likely, and moving at a slower speed can help you avoid these.
You also need more stopping distance when it rains. So if you’re speeding (or even just driving at regular speed), you may not have enough time and space to avoid the car in front of you if it suddenly stops.
Your headlights and wipers are essential during the rain, even during the day.
How to Drive Safely through Flood
What to expect: Among natural disasters, flooding is the second most common in North Carolina. It happens as often as every seven days.
Whether or not the water is still, driving through a flood is never a good idea. It might hide hazards beneath the surface. Plus, the water level may be higher than it seems.
Flowing water is even more dangerous. A 6-inch flood is enough to dislodge a small car. The current may be strong enough to wash away or turn over vehicles when it reaches 12 inches.
What you should do: The best thing to do is to find a different route or avoid driving altogether. However, crossing a flooded highway might be necessary for some situations.
If you really need to continue, keep these in mind:
- If cars are crossing, use them to determine the water’s depth.
- Do not speed through the flood.
- Watch out for power lines that may have fallen. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity.
- Take note of which direction the water is flowing. Objects can travel downstream and crash into your vehicle.
- If your vehicle stalls, leave it and search for higher ground.
How to Drive Safely through Fog
What to expect: Seeing the road is crucial when you’re behind the wheel — this is why driving through fog is dangerous. Hazards become more challenging to spot, and you may have trouble accurately gauging distance.
What you should do: You deal with fog the same way you deal with floods — if you can stop and postpone your time on the road, do so. However, if it isn’t possible, it’s best to err on the sound of caution.
Here are some tips to keep you safe:
- Slow down. Fog leads to poor visibility. But if you are slow, you can avoid crashing into other vehicles.
- Watch your speedometer. Fog distorts your sense of speed, making you feel you’re moving slower than you are. It causes some drivers to speed up.
- Use your fog lights since their beams cut through the fog. If you don’t have these, use your low beams, not your headlights.
- If you’re turning, activate your signal lights early to give other vehicles enough time to react.
Fog can become denser without any warning and leave you with no visibility. In these situations, pull over and activate your emergency flashers.
Don’t attempt to exit your vehicle from the driver’s side — others might not see you. Once you’re out, stay on the side of the road away from traffic.
How to Drive Safely in Snow and Ice
What to expect: Snow and ice on the road become a challenge since the surface becomes extra slippery. When driving, note that some spots are more likely to have frozen faster than others, such as shady areas, overpasses, and bridges.
What you should do: Navigating icy roads can be a problem, but the following can help you out:
- Increase your speed slowly — don’t accelerate as you usually do.
- Determine the conditions of the road by testing your brakes and steering control.
- If you’re driving a manual, release the clutch slowly as you move in second gear or higher.
- Increase your stopping distance to thrice what you usually allot.
Take extra precautions if you find yourself driving through a snowstorm. Ensure you use snow tires or attach chains to your wheels. But remember that these don’t guarantee a slip-free ride.
Travel at a reduced speed, and use your windshield wipers and low-beam lights.
The Wrap Up
And that was how to drive safely through the different North Carolina road conditions.
Whether you’re dealing with the dark, sun glare, rain, snow, flood, or fog, you have an idea of what you must do to stay safe.
Follow these tips and you’re more likely to avoid accidents while driving in North Carolina.