Tennessee Road Conditions (Safe Driving Tips)

Tennessee Road Conditions

There’s always some risk that comes with driving.

And yes, even in the daytime and in excellent weather.

However, the risks become higher when road conditions change (and not for the better).

Even driving at night, which may be a regular occurrence, exposes you to hazards that aren’t present when the sun is out.

You can try to avoid driving during inclement weather, but it isn’t realistic. 

After all, you can’t stay home for the entire winter.

So what’s the next best thing? 

Learn about the different Tennessee road conditions you might encounter and know how to safely go through them. 

This is exactly what you’ll be learning here. 

So let’s jump right to it!

How to Drive Safely at Night 

Driving at night

Let’s talk about that road condition you’re bound to encounter at one time or another — night driving.

Why should you be careful?

Even if there’s always a possibility of getting into a crash during the day, the probability is much higher at night. 

You have less visibility, making spotting other vehicles, people wearing dark clothes, or animals more challenging.

What’s more, at night, you’re more likely to encounter drunk or drowsy drivers. 

What should you do?

Fortunately, you can do several things to keep yourself safe while driving in the dark.

  • Reduce your speed. Don’t drive as fast as you would in daylight. Slowing down allows you to ensure your stopping distance is within your sight distance (which your headlights determine).
  • Prevent glare recovery. It’s that period when your eyes adjust to the darkness after looking into something bright. Attempting to drive during this is like driving blind. So don’t look directly into an oncoming vehicle’s headlights, and dim your dashboard lights if you can. 
  • Get as much visibility as possible. Keep surfaces between you and the road clean and clear — that includes your windows, windshield, and even your glasses (if you need a pair when driving).
  • Know when to use high-beam and low-beam lights. Yes, you should always turn your headlights on. But that doesn’t mean you should use your high beams all the time. Use low-beam lights if you’re diving in cities and towns and if there are oncoming vehicles within 500 feet.
  • Ensure your lights point in the right direction. Your car’s manual should indicate the best way to aim your lights, allowing you to maximize your view of the road (it also prevents you from blinding oncoming vehicles).
  • Know the protocols when parking at night. Don’t leave your headlights on, even if you only step out for a few minutes. Whether or not your vehicle is moving, your lights may still blind other drivers, especially if you park on the wrong side of the road. However, turn your emergency and parking lights on if you pull over along a highway. But don’t make a habit of it — you should only do this in emergencies.

How to Drive Safely in Rain

Then there is inclement weather.

Not only does rain lower visibility, but it also makes controlling your vehicle more challenging.

Why should you be careful?

It may surprise you, but roads become most slippery when it just starts raining. The water mixes with all the dirt and oil accumulated on the ground, creating a greasy film on the surface.

With that, your tires might not have the best grip, making skidding more likely. 

What should you do?

Keep the following tips in mind for rainy days:

  • Travel at a slower speed.
  • Allow yourself more stopping distance. Slamming on your brakes won’t do the trick (and may even cause more harm than good).
  • Use your lights to gain visibility but stick to your low beams. 
  • Use your car’s features, such as the defroster and windshield wipers, to help you see the road.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to signal a move.

How to Drive Safely with Fog and Smoke

Inclement weather isn’t limited to driving during a downpour. 

Going through thick fog and smoke can be as dangerous.

Why should you be careful?

Whether it’s a forest fire or the difference between ground and air temperatures, these typically create smoke and fog. 

So it’s either dangerous because there’s a fire — and/or your visibility is significantly reduced (and this is much more than just rain).

Ideally, you should avoid being behind the wheel in these Tennessee road conditions, but sometimes that isn’t possible.

What should you do?

  • Use your low beams, either your fog or parking lights. High beams reflect light into your eyes, potentially blinding you. 
  • Slow down. If you can’t see what’s in front of you, you’re more likely to crash into something if you drive at your regular speed.
  • Keep all auditory distractions. Since you have low visibility, you must rely on your other senses. Listening to traffic can warn you of what’s happening around you.
  • Avoid passing other vehicles. Everyone’s driving slower than usual, and it might test your patience. However, speeding up, passing, or stopping on the road may worsen the situation.

How to Drive Safely in Floods

According to a MoneyGeek study, floods are the most common natural disaster in the US. 

If you encounter a flooded area, Tennessee’s recommended solution is “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

Why should you be careful?

Floods hide hazards on the road.  I mean, you can’t see what’s underneath the water. 

Other times, people attempt to drive in flooded areas as they underestimate the water depth and either get stuck or stall. 

Worse, some floods have fast-moving water — and the current is strong enough to wash away debris or your entire vehicle.

What should you do?

If you can find another route, please do so. 

But if you can’t, keep yourself safe with the following tips:

  • Watch out for “Road Closed” barriers and heed them. Disobeying the sign not only puts you in danger — it also results in a reckless driving charge.
  • Six to twelve inches of water is not shallow. It’s enough to cause you to lose control of your vehicle. 
  • Do not park your car along streams, especially in inclement weather. If it overflows, it’ll affect your vehicle immediately.
  • Be more alert at night. Floods are harder to spot in the dark. You might not realize it’s there until you’re in it.

How to Drive Safely during Winter

If you think driving through water is challenging, wait until you drive on ice. 

There’s a reason why people take extra precautions during winter.

Why should you be careful?

The snow can reduce your visibility significantly. The temperature may also cause your windows to fog up.

Ice on the road gives you less traction, too. It’s very easy to lose control. 

And because of that, it severely impairs your ability to stop and steer.

What should you do?

Here are several safety tips for winter driving:

  • Make sure your car’s in working condition. Features like a heater or a defroster can help increase visibility by defogging your windows and windshield. Your wipers should work as well.
  • Use your headlights. Visibility might be low even during the day, so turning your lights on might be necessary.
  • Ensure your tires aren’t bald. Tires with good treading can help with traction. If possible, switch to snow tires.
  • Maintain a steady speed. Slowing down is always encouraged, but not so much because your vehicle might get stuck in the ice. 
  • Don’t slam on your brakes. It causes your brakes to lock up and may lead to loose steering control.

The Wrap Up

There you have it — all the safe driving tips you need for the different Tennessee road conditions. 

Remember, you can’t always avoid potentially risky road conditions, so it’s best to know how to manage them and adjust your driving behavior.

If you follow these tips, you will be able to you and your passengers safe. 

Drive safely!

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