Driving is statistically one of the most dangerous things that people do every day. Driving when the weather is bad can be even more dangerous. Because of this, it is important that everyone know what steps to take if they cannot avoid driving in adverse weather conditions.
Light rain or mist can be much more dangerous than many people realize because it can bring out the oils on the road and make it extremely slick. Heavy rains can significantly impair visibility, which is a serious potential driving hazard. When driving in the rain, slow down, turn on your windshield wipers and headlights but not your high beams, try to avoid driving through puddles, and leave extra space between your car and others.
Never attempt to drive through flood waters. They can be much deeper and have a much stronger current than people realize, and you may flood your engine and damage your car. Two feet of water is enough to carry away most vehicles.
Snow and Ice:
Clean all of the snow and ice off of your windows and hood before starting to drive. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with snow tires whenever practical, and always carry chains even if you don't need them at the moment. Follow all posted recommendations and requirements for chains, and drive slowly. Extra stopping distance on frozen roads ranges from 3 to 12 seconds, depending on the weight of your vehicle. Bridges and overpasses tend to freeze first, so be alert for ice here even if the roads aren't frozen.
If you are caught in a blizzard, stop driving but stay with your car. Clear snow away from the tailpipe and crack a window so that you get enough fresh air. To avoid freezing, run the engine and heater for approximately ten minutes out of every hour.
If you see the fog before you enter it, slow down. Traffic within the fog may not be visible but it could be extremely slow or even stopped. If your car is equipped with them, use fog lights, and if not, use your low beams. In extremely heavy fog, roll down your windows and listen for other cars because you may hear them before you can see them.
When driving in extremely hot weather, the air in your tires will expand. For this reason, stop and inspect the tires every two hours or 100 miles. A tire that is too hot to touch is too hot to drive on, and needs to be allowed to cool. Do not let air out of the tires, or they will not be sufficiently inflated when they cool.
Watch for a condition called 'bleeding tar'. This is when part of the road has actually melted, and it can be extremely slippery. Avoid driving too fast for too long, as this may increase the risk of your car or its tires overheating.
Do not try to outrun a tornado. If the tornado is extremely close to you, leave your car and implement outdoor tornado safety procedures. Usually, this means lying prone in the lowest ditch possible.
Hurricanes frequently cause evacuations, and most people drive when evacuated. Be on the lookout for floods, which can happen quickly when a hurricane is near. Stay calm and leave as much room as possible between your car and others. Be alert to the possibility of poor driving from others because of panic or inexperience.