Driving is an adventure, even when the newness of it all wears off. As teenagers are preparing to drive, they picture themselves driving in optimal conditions, but that is rarely the case. Instead, there are weather events and heavy traffic that drivers must know how to navigate well. To be successful in all conditions, here are some of our best driving tips.
Snow, Rain, and Fog
Each of these weather elements has a different effect on the road, but each is dangerous in its own way. For Snow, it is important to slow down and leave extra room between your vehicle and the others on the road. Always assume the road will be slippery because black ice is common with snow. Leaving the extra room will help you to see the conditions of the road ahead of you. If the cars start sliding or spinning, you will know to slow down and avoid that patch of road.
In light or heavy rain, it is important to have your headlights on to increase your visibility and help others see you too. Stay in the middle of your lane and avoid the sides where water tends to pool more. The risk of hydroplaning is real and can cause you to lose control of your car. It is also important to avoid puddles since you cannot tell how deep they are if there is something sharp in them.
In foggy conditions, headlights will decrease visibility. The important thing to do is turn on your low beam headlights. This will help only a little with visibility but will help other drivers see you. Often you cannot see another car until they are very close. Keep an eye on the car in front of you and stay in your lane. Do not try and pass because you cannot see if a car is coming.
For more information: The Rules of Driving in Bad Weather and Driving Safely in the Winter
Long Boring Roads
When making a long drive, there can be stretches of road where it becomes very long and boring. Keeping yourself focused on the road and free of distractions becomes difficult. Once you become bored, it is easy to start feeling drowsy too. One thing many drivers do not realize is that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Watch for the signs of drowsy driving, like struggling to keep your eyes open, frequent yawning, and drifting lanes.
Some of the best ways to keep your mind alert and focused is to drink caffeine, make stops when needed, eat crunchy food, and listen to loud music. If you do notice yourself becoming too tired, pull off in a safe area and take a quick nap. Usually it only takes a short nap to last the rest of the drive home.
For more information: Drowsy Driving vs. Drunk Driving and Road Trip Safety
Opposite of long, boring roads is heavy traffic conditions. These are hard to navigate because there is often a layer of stress to get where you need to go. Staying calm and using driving etiquette is especially important during heavy traffic. Use your blinker when changing lanes, let people merge, and do not try to speed out of frustration for being stuck.
Another risk of being in heavy traffic is that you can become bored and stop focusing on the road. Even when traffic feels like it is basically standing still, it is still important to stay focused on the road. Stay focused on the road and pay attention to drivers around you. There may be emergency vehicles trying to come, opportunities for you to merge, or a car suddenly stopping in front of you. Anticipating other driver’s moves is an important part of defensive driving, so stay aware of your surroundings.
For more information: Top Driving Challenges