How Not to Drive Under Hazardous Conditions

California is blessed with gorgeous weather for most of the year, but we’ve all driven on those days when the rain is falling hard, the wind is blowing at top speed, and visibility is low. It’s vital that we take precautions to drive extra safely on these days, as the chance of an accident is significantly higher.

If you want to be a smart driver, here is how NOT to drive:

Speed up – You’re in a hurry to get out of the wind and rain, so it’s better to get there quickly, right? WRONG! The heavy rainfall is going to reduce your tires’ friction with the road, meaning you’re far more likely to skid or spin out. Even if you slam on the brakes, you have no hope of stopping in time. The worse the weather, the slower you drive!

Practice stunt driving – We’ve all zipped in and out of traffic before, but you definitely DO NOT want to do that while it’s storming. Once again, your tire friction will be minimal, so you have far less control over your sharp turns and movements. If you don’t have to change lanes, don’t! If you’re going to change lanes, make sure to do it in a controlled way. The last thing you want is to have to turn sharply or slam on your brakes.

Follow trailers and trucks – If there is one thing all but guaranteed to increase your risk of accidents, it’s driving behind a vehicle pulling something: tractor trailers, campers, boats, U-Haul vehicles, etc. When the wind is blowing hard, it’s pushing against the flat surface of the trailer. But there is no power to turn or adjust that trailer, but it’s controlled by the driver at the front. It’s terribly un-aerodynamic, and there is a very high chance of skidding out of control or even flipping over. Be smart and stay well clear of anything being pulled by something else!

Take the van out for a spin – Passenger vans are the WORST vehicle to be driving under windy and rainy conditions. These vehicles tend to be top-heavy, and there is a lot of surface space for the wind to buffet. The lower the car, the less the wind will be able to push on it. On the flip side, a car that is TOO low may become flooded if the water rises too high.

Hit those puddles hard – Sure, it can be fun to spray water everywhere, but there are two reasons to not do this: 1) you can get water up in your vehicle’s important machinery, and 2) you can impair visibility for someone else, leading to an accident.

If the weather is rainy and windy, it’s up to YOU to be a safe driver!