As the seasons change, so do the driving conditions. Inclement weather, such as rain, fog and snow, can significantly increase the risks on the road – and Seattle has long been infamous for its cold, wet weather.
It helps to do a “mental refresh” when it comes to driving safety in poor weather conditions so that you can consciously adapt your driving habits to the changing seasons.
Driving in the rain
Rainy conditions can make the roads slippery and reduce visibility. To navigate safely in the rain:
- Allow for increased stopping distance. Wet roads decrease your tire traction, making it harder to stop quickly.
- Maintain a greater following distance from the vehicle in front of you. This extra space allows for more time to react to sudden stops or skids.
- Use your headlights, even during daylight hours. This not only helps you see better but also makes your vehicle more visible to others in dim light.
- Ensure your windshield wipers are in good working order, and use your defrosters to prevent fogging. Clear windows are essential for visibility.
- Avoid using cruise control as it may lead to loss of control on slippery surfaces.
- Drive cautiously over puddles and on wet roads, as hydroplaning can occur. If you start to hydroplane, ease off the gas and steer in the direction you want to go.
It’s wise to remember that Seattle’s rainy season starts in October, peaks in November but continues well into spring.
Driving in the fog
Fog creates low visibility conditions that can be extremely hazardous. Some safety tips include:
- Fog can obscure your vision, making it challenging to see obstacles or other vehicles.
- Switch to your vehicle’s low-beam headlights. High beams can reflect off the fog and make visibility even worse.
- Keep a sharp lookout for other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles. Use your windshield wipers and defrosters to maintain better visibility.
- Don’t tailgate. Sudden stops are harder to anticipate in foggy conditions.
Fog forms when warm, moist air comes in contact with cooler, moist ground, which makes it particularly common in mornings and during the autumn.
Driving in the snow
Snowy conditions can be treacherous, especially if the roads are icy. With that in mind:
- Consider buying winter tires for improved traction on snowy or icy roads.
- Before setting out, clear all snow and ice from your vehicle, including the windshield, windows, roof and lights. This keeps the blowback from obscuring your vision.
- Avoid sudden acceleration or braking, as this can lead to skidding. Gradually apply the gas and brake pedals.
Finally, the number one thing to do in all these situations is to be on your guard. You can be the best driver in the world and it won’t prevent you from falling victim to another driver’s negligence. If that happens, it’s wise to seek information about your options so that you can pursue fair compensation.