Hate it or love it…
You’re going to have to drive through non-ideal conditions.
And in West Virginia, there are so many different kinds of road conditions that pose hazards.
What do you do to ensure safety for all?
That’s what we’re going to look at here.
We’re going to go over several safety tips for the different West Virginia road conditions. We’ll include:
- Light conditions
- Snow and sleet
- High winds
- Fog and smoke
- Road construction
So without further ado, let’s check it out!
How to Drive Safely in Light Conditions
What do we mean by “light conditions”?
That’s whether you’re driving in too bright or too dark areas.
Light conditions affect how you see your surroundings.
Sure, it’s easier to drive during the day — but if the sun’s light is too harsh, then it becomes more difficult to see and thus drive.
Here are some tips for driving in broad daylight:
- Use a sun visor or wear sunglasses.
- Reduce your speed to give you more time and space to react to vehicles on the road.
- Adjust your mirrors so you can see your surroundings better. Also, make sure the sun’s light doesn’t reflect on them.
- Use your turn signals so that people can see where you’re headed.
On the other hand, night driving is much more dangerous because of the darkness.
So to avoid collisions, here’s what to do:
- Turn on your headlights. In West Virginia, you’re required to turn them on when it starts to get dark.
- Use high beams when there are no vehicles in front of you. This allows you to see farther.
- Do not look directly at oncoming headlights – they might momentarily blind you. Instead, focus your eyes on the right, away from the bright lights.
- Avoid having bright screens on your dashboard since your eyes take time to adjust to the change in lighting (from bright to dark).
- Make sure your windshield and your mirrors are clear. You don’t want to have any dirt obstructing your view even more.
How to Drive Safely in Rain
When heavy rain is pouring down…
It’s understandable if you feel a bit tense behind the wheel.
Driving in the rain requires a lot of focus and caution.
Not knowing what to do can lead to accidents.
To keep yourself safe, make sure to follow these tips:
- Before leaving the house, check on your tires. They should be in good condition.
- Look out for standing water. These areas may obscure potholes or debris. Plus, they increase the chance of hydroplaning.
- Stay away from large vehicles. Their tires might spray water on your vehicle.
- Turn on your headlights. Even in the daytime, rain can heavily darken your surroundings.
- Do not use cruise control. Make sure that you are in control of your car.
- Slow down. If you want to avoid skidding, then you must reduce your speed.
- If you do skid, never panic. Instead, slowly release your foot from the gas pedal, steer your wheel in the direction you want the front tires to go, and gently step on the brakes.
How to Drive Safely Through Flooding
If you need to be focused and cautious in the rain…
Floods require you to be even more careful.
But unlike driving in the rain, flooding can prevent you from driving altogether.
So, what do you do when this happens?
- If you see a flood, make a detour. Do not brave it even if you think the water is shallow. This is because it might be deeper than you think and will stall your vehicle.
- In the absence of detours, try to gauge how deep the water is. Use a post or any standing object nearby to help you estimate the depth of the water.
- If the flood is 6 inches deep, do not attempt to drive through. It’s best to wait it out if there are no detours. Remember, smaller vehicles can already float at this height.
- If you feel the flood is okay to pass, make sure to drive very slowly. Also, drive in the middle of the road. The edges of the road are often deeper.
- If your vehicle stalls in the middle of a flood, do not restart the engine. Instead, leave your vehicle and contact an emergency hotline.
How to Drive Safely in Snow and Sleet
One of the most dangerous West Virginia road conditions to drive in is snow.
Snow is thick, slippery, and sometimes transparent.
If you’re not careful, you’re likely to skid.
To prevent that from happening, follow these tips:
- Before going out, always check the weather report. If there is a snowstorm, it’s best to stay inside.
- Pack a first aid kit, blanket, shovel, and lights. You never know what might happen.
- Remove all the snow on your mirrors, windshield, and windows.
- Change your tires to winter tires or add snow chains. These have more grip and are built to prevent skidding.
- Be on the lookout for black ice – transparent ice that is a lot more slippery than snow.
- If you need to slow down, gradually step on the brakes. Never slam on your brakes.
- If your car gets stuck in the snow, you can clear a path around the tires, do the forward-backward technique, etc… If your tires are spinning, hit the brake and gas pedals at the same time (slowly).
How to Drive Safely in High Winds
“It’s just a little wind!”
No, it’s not.
During high winds, your chances of losing control are very likely, similar to driving in the rain or snow.
Follow these tips to help you control your vehicle during these situations:
- Drive with both hands. Be firm on the steering wheel, and avoid sudden changes in direction.
- Remove loose objects outside your vehicle.
- Be careful when passing through tunnels and bridges. Wind may be stronger in these areas.
- Always look forward and steer your car slowly to where you want to go.
- Stay away from large vehicles. If they lose control of the truck, you might end up as a casualty.
- Prepare for gusts of wind when there are gaps between buildings.
How to Drive Safely in Fog and Smoke
Fog and smoke make it difficult to see what’s in front of you.
Sometimes, you won’t be able to see anything at all.
The goal here is to make yourself seen and to see where you’re headed.
Here’s how to do it:
- Turn on your low-beam headlights. High-beam headlights might cause momentary blindness to other drivers. Plus, high beams also reflect in fog and smoke.
- Increase your following distance. You don’t want to suddenly come upon a vehicle a few inches away.
- If the fog or smoke is too thick, choose to park your car in a safe place. Let the fog or smoke pass.
- Use your windshield wipers to remove the moisture.
- Listen to your surroundings. This will help you know if there are people or vehicles around you.
How to Drive Safely in Road Construction
Road constructions often mean more traffic.
Moreover, it means that there are equipment, workers, damaged roads, and more.
Here are some reminders when passing through these places:
- Be aware of warning signs a few feet from the construction site.
- Follow the detour signs. If you can avoid the construction area, the better.
- Take turns when merging. Do not speed up or drive close to the car in front just so you can pass first.
- Look for flaggers that tell you where you have to go.
- Don’t drive too close to barriers.
And that is how to avoid the hazards of the different West Virginia road conditions.
Yes, that’s a lot of driving tips.
However, it’s important to keep them all in mind.
Knowing and following these tips will make you a safer driver.
Remember, it always pays to drive safely!