In Virginia, you’ll often encounter different road conditions that require different driving behaviors.
The weather, time of day, and areas you’re driving through can all pose certain dangers.
This is why it’s so important to know how to navigate the ever-changing Virginia road conditions.
And this is why, here, we’re going to give you a safety guide when driving in these conditions:
- Thick fog
- Heavy rain
- Deer crossing
Let’s get to it!
How to Drive Safely at Night
Nighttime driving can be a challenge, especially if you’re in a rural area with little light.
The challenge in question?
You won’t be able to see far ahead of you. Moreover, you might not be able to spot pedestrians or animals crossing — or even objects on the road.
This is why, when driving at night, you’re required to turn your headlights on half an hour after sunset.
If you’re in the city, or a well-lit area, then low-beam lights should do.
However, when traveling through dimly lit areas, it’s always best to use your high beams.
Just be mindful of oncoming traffic, as high beams can momentarily blind drivers.
As a rule of thumb, you should switch off your high beams if there’s traffic 500 meters ahead of you.
Of course, many drivers don’t abide by driving etiquette, keeping their high beams on even when they’re right behind you.
If so, you can move your rearview mirror down to prevent the glare from obstructing your vision.
If the driver approaching has high beams on, look toward the right side of the road until they pass. This will prevent you from getting momentarily blind.
How to Drive Safely through Fog
If night driving makes it hard to see — foggy conditions are even worse.
In thick fog, your view will be completely obstructed.
If you live in an area that easily fogs, then it’s best to install fog lights. This can pierce through the fog blanket more than your regular headlights.
If you need to alert other drivers of your presence, turn on your indicators.
What if you don’t have fog lights?
Using your high beams may seem logical. The brighter the light, the more you can see.
But that is not the case with fog.
High beams actually reduce your vision more by reflecting off the fog. So always use low beams instead.
In extreme conditions, it’s best to look for a safe place to park your car, keep your indicators on, and wait for the fog to pass.
This can be lifesaving on the highway, where many accidents occurred from high-speed driving in thick fog.
If parking is not possible, slow down to a crawling pace and use GPS navigation to your advantage.
How to Drive Safely in Rain
In heavy rain, it’s not only hard to see what’s in front.
The roads also become slippery — very slippery.
One very basic safety tip is to slow down. The slower you go, the less likely you are to lose grip and control.
Also, when the rainy season arrives, always check if your wipers are in good working condition.
Moreover, you can use your defroster or heated side mirrors to remove any condensation on your windshield, windows, and mirrors.
Say you do lose grip and start to skid.
The number one rule is to not panic.
Instead, slowly lift your foot from the accelerator, shift to neutral, and keep your steering wheel straight. This will slow down your car and allow traction to return.
When your grip on the road is back, you can turn in the direction you want to go.
It’s also best not to activate cruise control. This is so you can change your speed around turns and puddled areas.
How to Drive Safely in Snow
Driving in the snow is arguably the most tricky road condition — even for experienced drivers.
Well, to make your trips a lot safer, it’s a good idea to install winter tires. These tires are designed to grip even the most snowy or icy roads.
Before you go out, it’s essential to clean your car of any idle snow and ice. This is to avoid it flying off when you start to drive.
Keep in check with your wiper and defroster. These are crucial to keeping your windshield free from ice and condensation.
Make sure your car is in top condition before going out there.
And just in case something happens, keep a winter first-aid kit in your car. This can include a shovel, emergency blankets, towing rope, reflectors, jumper cables, etc…
Of course, all the other safety rules apply. This includes:
- Drive slowly to keep control and traction.
- Leave more space between you and other vehicles as ice and snow can increase braking distance.
- Brake gently. If you slam on your brakes, the car might go out of control.
- Check the weather forecast before going out. If there is a snowstorm, it’s better to stay in.
How to Drive Safely in Deer Zones
In Virginia, deer are most likely found near wooded areas, water sources, or agricultural fields.
A warning sign will give you a heads-up when you’re entering deer zones.
One of the best ways to be safe around deer crossings is to know when they’re usually out.
They are most active around dawn and dusk, with greater movement in the fall.
When driving in during these times, be extra watchful for the animals.
If you see one by the side of the road, always expect it to cross. So slow down until you safely pass it.
If the deer is stopped by the road, stop and wait for it to move.
Never try to swerve around the deer as you might lose control. Also, deers are very unpredictable, they could run in your changed direction at the last minute.
If a deer suddenly jumps in front of your vehicle, and there’s no way to avoid it, brake firmly to come to a controlled stop, limiting the damage. Again, never try to swerve away.
And that is how to drive safely through the different Virginia road conditions.
While driving in different situations can be a challenge, the more practice you get in, the better you’ll be at handling them.
But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the tips and tricks you learned here.
With experience AND knowledge, you can be the safest driver out there.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
So drive safely!