Not all driving conditions are created equal, with some weather patterns making it challenging to operate a motor vehicle safely and effectively. While we may be accustomed to driving underneath clear skies, it’s important to know what to do when common weather conditions arise.

Understanding the specific hazards associated with different types of extreme weather can help you navigate the roads safely and make informed decisions. If you are unlucky enough to experience a weather-related wreck, a car accident attorney in Atlanta may be able to help.

Navigating Waterlogged Roads

Heavy rain can make driving significantly more challenging. Downpours can reduce visibility, making it hard to see road hazards or other vehicles. Wet roads also offer significantly less traction for your vehicle’s tires, increasing the risk of hydroplaning and a subsequent loss of control.

You may also notice that your car’s stopping distances are significantly extended on wet pavement. To compensate for this, increase your following distance and exercise caution if you see another vehicle braking.

In areas of low elevation, flash flooding can pose a serious threat during heavy rainfall. These rapid onsets of flooding can turn seemingly safe roads into raging rivers within minutes. Floodwaters can be deceptively deep, with a current capable of sweeping away a motor vehicle. 

You should never attempt to swim through floodwaters, as it is difficult to accurately judge the depth of the water and strength of the current. If you encounter a flooded road, find an alternate route that does not involve crossing the underwater street.

Tackling Treacherous Winter Conditions

Snowfall can transform the local landscape into a beautiful winter wonderland, but the splendor of winter comes with some significant driving challenges. Snow reduces traction, which can make it challenging to accelerate, brake, and steer.

Icy or snow-covered roads can cause loss of control or skidding, especially on steep turns or hills. Stopping distances are also greatly extended in snowy conditions, so be sure to slow down and increase your following distance. 

Ice-covered roads pose a unique challenge for drivers, particularly those not used to winter weather conditions. Black ice can be nearly impossible to see, but it can create areas of roadway with little-to-no traction.

Bridges and shaded areas are especially prone to black ice formation. Be especially cautious when crossing bridges or driving along sections of road not exposed to direct sunlight and do not brake suddenly, as doing so may cause a loss of traction. 

Coping with Intense Summer Weather

Extreme heat can cause adverse health conditions such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. However, not many people know that hot weather can also do significant damage to your car! Extreme temperatures can strain your car’s engine, leading to overheating and damage if allowed to run unchecked.

To protect your vehicle, be sure to keep up with regular maintenance, particularly of your car’s cooling system. You should also stay aware of the effects of heat-related illness. Stay hydrated and take breaks in air-conditioned spaces between periods of driving to prevent the onset of heat-related illnesses.

If you live in an area that is at high risk of wildfires, this can make driving significantly more hazardous. Even if you aren’t close to the actual wildfire, heavy smoke in the air can reduce visibility. Additionally, smoke inhalation can impair your judgment or cause respiratory problems.

If you need to drive through an area impacted by a wildfire, close your car windows and vents to prevent smoke from getting in the vehicle. Even during the day, you should turn on your headlights to enhance visibility and make your vehicle easier to see on the road. Proceed with extreme caution and use another route if one is readily available.

Driving During Severe Thunderstorms

Severe thunderstorms can pose a significant threat to drivers. Storms are often accompanied by strong winds that can reduce vehicle stability or blow debris across the road. Hailstones can damage windshields and make it difficult to see the road.

Although it is incredibly unlikely, lightning can strike a vehicle, particularly on open stretches of road where a car is the highest object above ground level. Instead of driving through a severe thunderstorm, pull over to a safe location, turn on your car’s hazard lights, and wait for conditions to improve.

Staying Safe During Extreme Weather Conditions

We hope this article has been informative and that you have gained valuable knowledge regarding different types of weather that can arise while you’re on the road! Remember that adjusting your speed, increasing following distance, and prioritizing visibility can help you stay safe during poor weather conditions. When possible, delaying your trip entirely until weather improves can be an ideal strategy. Enjoy your next drive and stay safe on the road!