How do you drive safely when it’s raining?
What about in thick snow?
Do you need to do anything out of the order to stay safe?
As a driver, part of your responsibility is to know what to do when different road conditions arise.
Slowing down is a big help, but if you don’t take safety precautions, then it’s not enough.
We’re here to give you all the tips on how to drive safely through different Pennsylvania road conditions, including:
- Work zones
- And so much more
So let’s dive right in!
How to Drive Safely at Night
Because of the darkness, it’s a lot harder to drive at night than during the day.
If you’re not careful, you might easily miss a pedestrian or a sign.
So if you’re driving at night, here’s what to do:
- You are required to turn on your headlights at night, during sunset, and at sunrise.
- Use low beams when there are other vehicles on the road. However, if you’re the only one, use high beams so you can see farther.
- Do not keep your high beam lights on to signal a driver. It will give the other driver a difficult time seeing.
- Be more alert to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists around your vehicle. Try to keep them in your line of sight.
- Dim any dashboard lights. If these are too bright, it might blind you and make it more difficult to see outside.
How to Drive Safely in Wet Pavement
Wet pavements make it a lot more difficult to control your vehicle.
If you’re driving too fast, you stand the risk of hydroplaning — this is when your tires lose grip and glide through a film of water.
So when you’re driving on wet pavement, here are some safety tips:
- Slow down. Not only will this reduce hydroplaning risks, but it also allows you more time to stop the car if needed.
- Do not suddenly step on the brakes. If you have to brake, do it gradually.
- If you experience hydroplaning, keep both of your hands on the steering wheel and slowly take your foot off the gas. Steer the vehicle in the direction you want to go.
- When steering, do it gradually (even if you’re not hydroplaning).
How to Drive Safely in Snow and Ice
Snow and ice are some of the reasons why the roads are damp and slippery. A big part of safety during winter is preparation.
Here are some preparation tips when driving during the winter:
- Change your tires to winter tires. If the snow is light, you can use all-season tires that have a strong grip on wet and snowy roads.
- Always check your tires and brakes – make sure they’re in proper working condition.
- Check the weather report before leaving the house. If there is a snowstorm, then try as much as possible to avoid driving.
- Pack a first aid kit, a flashlight, some blankets, and a small shovel.
When you’re already on the road, here are some safe driving tips:
- Reduce your speed by 5-10 mph and increase your following distance to 5-6 seconds.
- Never use cruise control when there’s snow or ice. Focus on your driving and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
- If you’re nearing an intersection, start braking even before you reach the traffic signal. This way, you don’t have to brake suddenly.
How to Drive Safely in Visibility Conditions
Low visibility happens when there’s thick fog, rain, or snow.
The most important thing to remember is that you should always make yourself visible to other vehicles.
Also, follow these other safety tips:
- Turn on your low-beam headlights and fog lights (if you have any). Do this even when it’s daytime.
- Increase your following distance to the vehicle in front. If they suddenly stop, there’s space for you to slow down.
- Clear the windows, windshield, and mirrors to ensure that you can see all sides of your vehicle.
- Turn on your windshield wipers to wipe away moisture. Don’t forget that when your windshield wipers are turned on, the law requires you to turn on your headlights too.
- If visibility is too low, do not continue. Instead, pull over off the road and in a safe area. It’s best to not brave the fog.
How to Drive Safely through Traffic Flow
Is traffic a road condition you need to be worried about?
Other than the annoying feeling of getting stuck at a slow pace, traffic can also cause crashes.
Here’s how to avoid it:
- Adjust your speed to match the speed of the other vehicles.
- Traffic can be caused by a work zone, so be alert for hazards on the road.
- Avoid passing. If you have to overtake, give a signal and make sure the driver in front knows what you’re planning to do.
- Don’t be afraid to use your horn if you feel that the driver in front does not see your or isn’t paying attention.
- Always follow the traffic signs to know where you are allowed to go and at what speed.
How to Drive Safely through Curves
When you’re driving in a curve, you have to understand that you can’t easily maneuver your vehicle as there’s inertia that prevents it to move in an arc.
Forcing your car to make a sharp turn can easily lead to a crash.
So here’s how you should navigate a curve:
- Move slightly to the right of the road on a right curve and slightly to the left (towards the center lane) on a left curve.
- The sharper the curve, the slower you have to go.
- Do not pass when you are on a curve. In most cases, you won’t see oncoming traffic.
How to Drive Safely in Highways and Interchanges
Highways and interchanges are where vehicles are often fastest. The speed limits are higher, so the chances of car crashes are also higher.
Here are some things to remember:
- Look where you’re supposed to go. Make sure you’re not entering an exit ramp.
- Yield to vehicles exiting the road if you have to use the same road for entering/exiting the highway.
- If you will exit soon, move to the lane nearest the exit lane. This is where you can slow down as you prepare to exit the highway.
- If you miss your stop, take the next exit. Do not back up.
How to Drive Safely in Work Zones
Work zones are areas where there are maintenance or construction sites. Most of them will have work/maintenance road signs that will tell you of hazards in the area.
When entering a work zone, here’s what to do:
- Watch out for construction workers in the area. They will most likely be in reflective gear.
- Do not use cruise control in these areas.
- Do not stop and ask for directions in these areas.
- Follow the detour signs or the instructions of flaggers or traffic enforcers.
- Do not cross a solid white line on a work zone.
How to Drive Safely through Railroad Crossings
The thing about railroad crossings is that not all of them will have a gate telling you where to stop or when a train is approaching.
Most of the time, there will only be a crossbuck and a warning sign.
Regardless of the signs you’ll see, here’s what to do when you’re near or at a railroad:
- Listen carefully for a train. If you can see or hear a train, stop a few feet before the tracks. Do not attempt to cross since trains are fast.
- Only pass when you no longer see a train. Do not pass the moment a train passes by.
- Even if a vehicle crosses the railroad, you still have to look out for a train.
How to Drive Safely through Flood
Lastly, let’s talk about floods. Floods can happen because of heavy rains or a blocked sewage system.
If you see a flood, always try to look for an alternate route.
In the absence of an alternate route, here’s what to do:
- Check if the flood is already 6 inches of water. If it is and you’re driving a sedan or low vehicle, do not attempt to pass since it might stall your car.
- 12-foot floods can already make most cars float. Do not attempt to pass.
- If your vehicle starts to float, leave it. Do not stay inside the car.
And those were the safety tips for different Pennsylvania road conditions.
If you want to ensure safety for everyone, you have to follow these tips.
Don’t think that it’s silly.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.