Driving in the best conditions requires a person’s focus and concentration. It is important to pay attention to what is going on around us at all times. Being a defensive driver will help you be aware of what is going on ahead of and behind you. What is also important is to be able to adjust for driving conditions.
How can you adjust for driving conditions?
By being aware of what can change while driving.
- Ice – It is hard to adjust for ice because ice is hard to see. The best way to adjust is to be aware it could be there. If it has rained or snowed recently and the temperature is cold enough you should assume there could be ice on the roads. It is also important to know that bridges ice over faster than roads.
- Rain – With rain it partly depends on the intensity. If it is drizzling or lightly raining there is less to adjust for. For a heavy rain you need to watch out for slick roads. There can also be a concern of hydroplaning. That is when a vehicle’s tires cannot grip the road. There is water between the tires and the road so the vehicle just slides.
- Snow – Once the snow starts you need to mostly need to pay more attention once the snow starts sticking. There are 2 issues to be aware of, one is the ice that can form as the snow melts until the ground gets cold enough. The second one is once the snow starts sticking there could be traction issues.
- Construction/Traffic Jam – We all know it is recommended to drive several car lengths behind other vehicles. While dealing with construction or a traffic jam traffic can stop suddenly. If you are following too closely you could end up rear ending the car in front of you. Another way to adjust is to drive in either the slow lane or the fast lane. By driving in one of those lanes you have a berm to pull into if necessary.
Once you have assessed that driving conditions have changed it is important to make the necessary changes. One of the most important changes is slowing down. Slowing down gives you time to react should something unfold quickly in front of you, or next to you.
Another important change you should make is limiting the number of distractions. For example, turn down the radio, ask the people in your car to talk quietly so you can pay attention and be sure you are using hands free devices so you can have two hands on the wheel at all times.
Driving is complicated no matter what the driving or weather conditions. We must be on alert at all times. It is important to be aware of what is going on around us at all times. Part of being a defensive driver is being able to react quickly and in the safest way possible. If you know what kind of traffic is around you and something comes up you know where you can safely go.