8 Driving Tips To Avoid Accidents in Bad Weather

Inclement weather is detrimental for drivers. Out of the six million accidents that occur each year, roughly 22-percent are weather-related. Before you become a part of that statistic, here are eight driving tips to help keep you safe.

  1. Be Prepared

First, you should always carry a list of essentials in the trunk of your car. Items like blankets, bottled water, jumper cables, and flashlights are invaluable in an emergency. During the winter, keeping some salt or sand in the trunk helps weigh your vehicle down.

  1. Give Your Vehicle a Checkup

Before winter hits and before every long trip, you should take the time to inspect your vehicle. Ensure that your tires have enough tread, that your wiper blades are in good condition, and that your fluid levels are adequate for the journey ahead.

  1. Take It Slow and Easy

Ask any car accident attorney, one of the top causes of a wreck in inclement weather is speeding. Whether it’s rain or snow, remember to drive at least five miles per hour slower than the posted speed limit. As the weather worsens, don’t be afraid to slow down even further.

Your brakes lack friction in wet conditions, which means you need more time to slow down. The same is true for your tires. It might be an inconvenience, but taking things slow and easy can help you avoid a collision with either another vehicle or a stationary object.

  1. Distance Matters

Driving slower is a start, but part of the issue is also your distance from other vehicles. Even with the added control over your car from a slower speed, you might still slide into cars in front of you. So, give yourself an extra car’s length in-between you and the car ahead. That way, you can give yourself extra time to come to a full and complete stop.

  1. Both Hands on the Wheel

Distracted driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence (DUI). At slower speeds, it might be tempting to text or make a phone call. However, even one hand off the wheel lessens the amount of control you have over your vehicle if something goes awry.

  1. Steady Movements

Another part of taking things slow and easy is to decrease your need for sudden movements. That means driving slow enough to not have to jerk the wheel, braking steadily, and speeding up with caution. The more calculated and meticulous your actions, the safer you are in inclement weather.

  1. Know Your Location

While your local drive might not be impacted by bad weather, surrounding areas could be worse. Wherever you’re driving to, it helps to know what the weather along the way is going to be like. If you’re headed to the mountains, for instance, then you should check to see if there’s increased snow or storms.

  1. Check the Weather

You should always check the weather before driving during the winter. However, checking it before any drive can prepare you for heavy rains. If you know what the day looks like ahead of time, you never have to worry about being caught off guard.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.