Unless you live in Hawaii and you’ve permanently given up wheels for waves, brah, the only real way to avoid driving in hazardous conditions is to avoid driving altogether. Since that probably isn’t what you’re trying to do, let’s talk about what you should do when you find yourself in unsafe weather conditions. These tips can help you be a safe, confident driver no matter what the weather is doing. We’ve put together some resources to help you in any climate or condition. Driving in the snow? Follow our tips. The rain? Stay safe and avoid hydroplaning. Driving through the desert? We’ve got you covered. Driving in the dessert? Sounds delicious.
Hazardous Condition Driving Safety Videos
- Tips for Driving in Rain and Wet Weather
- Tips for Driving in Snow and Winter Weather
- Tips for Driving in Hot Weather
- What to Do if You Start Hydroplaning
- The Dangers of Driving In Floodwater
Real talk: sometimes unfortunate things happen. You might get stranded in a remote location in the middle of a blizzard. Your car might suddenly overheat and break down in the desert. Before you even begin driving through hazardous conditions, let’s talk about what you want to pack in your car. You want to make sure you’re ready for any emergency that can come your way — it can literally save your life one day.
Things you should pack in your car for emergencies:
- For snow: Ice scraper, warm blanket (space blanket recommended), kitty litter or a shovel, gloves.
- For heat: Bottles of water, coolant, washcloths.
- For rain: Extra clothes, poncho or other waterproof covering.
- For always: Flares, maps, matches, first aid kit (including bandages, medication, ointment, etc), flashlight, portable food items (such as Clif bars), car phone charger, whatever else you think is important.
These things can help you get safely out of potentially life-threatening situations. When packing your car, think about what kinds of things could happen (breakdown, accident, etc.) so you can always be prepared.
Drive to Conditions
When you’re driving in these conditions, it’s very important to adjust to conditions. Is it raining or snowing so hard that you have almost zero visibility? You should slow way, way down and make sure you’ve got plenty of space between yourself other drivers. If it gets too hard to see, pull as far off the road as you can, turn your flashers on, and wait for it to clear up a little bit. Are you driving up a giant mountain in 100+ temps while carrying six people and two dogs? You’ll probably want to turn your A/C off to save your car from overheating.
Whenever you get in non-ideal situations, the best thing you can do is just use your common sense. If you feel unsafe driving 65mph in the rain, it’s probably because you are unsafe. Slow down so you avoid hydroplaning and losing control of your vehicle. You got this, fam.
Check out our videos on driving in hazardous conditions to learn more about specific bad weather situations: wet, hot, and snowy.