At part stage, all vehicle drivers are challenged by negative weather conditions. Many unfortunately underestimate the adjustments needed in steering technique. Researchers and also statisticians in the U.S. Found that 24% of all crashes occur during adverse weather conditions, including ice, snow, and rain.

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In south Africa, we space accustomed come driving in beautiful sunny weather most of the time. Numerous a young driver has actually a drivers’ licence however has never had actually to attend to the obstacles presented by adverse weather conditions. That is the duty that the driver to know exactly how to adjust his driving to meet problems on the roadway he travels.

In this section, we would like to provide some insights and advice on how to journey in adverse weather. There are several detailed discussions on details weather conditions on the Arrive alive website. Us would like to discuss some that the general techniques for safe driving in most of these challenging conditions.

Adverse weather conditions and unique obstacles on the road

Adverse weather conditions can be explained as those conditions brought about by alters in weather request the driver come exercise special caution and adjust his normal driving behaviour.

These conditions tend to minimize the visibility the the driver and also his capability to safely command or apply to brake come the vehicle.

Adverse weather conditions include control in:




Fog and also Mist

Hail storms

Smoke indigenous veld and also forest fire

Strong winds

Extreme cold and hot weather

Driving towards the sun from sunrise come sunset

We need to recognize the these problems may current rather unique obstacles to the driver. These would include:

Reduced visibility

Reduced steering ability

Reduced traction

Increased time and space required to bring the automobile to a stop.


Extreme weather needs special skills from the driver come be for sure on the road.

Wet roadway surfaces can reason tyres come hydroplane (skim ~ above a thin layer of water).

Wind creates added problems for vehicle drivers as the reduces steering control.

It can be specifically dangerous because that recreational vehicles and vehicles towing trailers.

High sided vehicles and also motorcyclists are specifically vulnerable to strong winds.

Crosswinds may reason the auto to swerve, especially SUVs and also vans.

Sudden gusts of wind may existing a distinctive risk as you cross a culvert or bridge, or journey through hill passes and ravines.

You may also encounter a tiny gust as soon as being happen by a big truck or bus.

The rather unique obstacles are no only having actually an result on your own steering and ability to control the auto but also on her awareness v regards to various other road users and objects.

A driver requirements to take it special treatment when control behind products vehicles as they generate a considerable amount the spray i m sorry reduces your visibility. That is ideal to hold earlier to wherein you deserve to see your mirrors.

Adverse weather and solid winds may increase the chances of falling/fallen debris ~ above the road and vehicles veering across the road to prevent such debris.

Surface water may contain covert objects the could cause you come stall or damages your tyres.

Increased awareness is compelled of breakable road individuals such together pedestrians, cyclists and also motorcyclists and also the need to allow extra space.

They too might be make the efforts to prevent the mud and slippery side of the road.

It is best to avoid relocating off the road under tree that might fall on her vehicle.

Also stay alert to animals at the roadside wherein fences might be down.

Adverse weather problems may cause power present to walk down following to and on the roads –be alert and also avoid downed strength lines.

Smoke from woodland or brush fires have the right to be dangerous to drive through due to the fact that it can happen suddenly, there is no warning, and be an extremely dense.

Clouds that sand can also significantly mitigate visibility.

Some chauffeurs may not be making use of the headlights together is required by legislation – rather avoid overtaking in conditions of bad visibility.

Aspects come consider prior to driving in poor weather

Most of us not recorded off-guard by sudden transforms in weather have the option whether to challenge these difficult driving conditions or rather to avoid them. The best method to be safe in extremely bad weather is to avoid driving in ~ all. Even for the skilled driver through the best automobile the best method to prevent an accident or trouble on the roadway in stormy weather is simply to stay at home and wait because that the weather come improve. If possible, it is best to postpone a trip and stay house rather than drive if over there is severe weather system moving v your area.

For those who have to be top top the road, that is important to arrangement ahead because that the drive! steering in bad weather usually takes longer and is more stressful. Not allowing enough time to with the location will rise your stress and anxiety level and also could adversely impact your driving. By plan ahead for the poor weather and also the difficulties it may throw in ~ you, you will be much better prepared to take care of unfortunate cases if they do take place to you.

Driver Fitness and also Safe driving in disadvantage Weather Conditions

A safe driver must strive to be physically fit, healthy and also in the best condition feasible for the challenges that excessive weather might throw at him.

In disadvantage weather conditions, the is even much more important to be alert, making use of all your senses to identify potential dangers.

Most important the driver demands to have actually a clear vision – make sure you room able to see!

Always mental - if friend cannot view a safe distance ahead you need to not be driving.

In traffic with limited visibility, friend should also be maybe to listen to traffic.

Avoid loud music on the radio and also other driver distractions.

Avoid driver exhaustion by maintaining the vehicle well ventilated.

Only drive as soon as well rested – you will require all your concentration once driving in excessive weather!

Vehicle Fitness and also Driving in bad Weather

The safe driver will be well aware of the need to have a automobile best fitted to drive safely in bad weather and not rest down!

We would advise a complete pre-trip inspection with a focus on the following:

Do a visual, hands-on inspection and also check all essential items, including tyres, wiper blades, fluid and lights.

Check that wiper knives are no worn and are capable of clearing the windscreen correctly.

When it's your safety, her family's safety, and also the security of others on the heat the price to acquisition a decent collection of windshield wipers is a tiny price come pay.

Don’t forget to check the spare tyre.

Tyre tread is really important especially on slippery roads allowing you to slow down and also stop suddenly should the require arise.

Guard versus “over” and also “under” inflated tyres and potential lose in traction.

Check the battery, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid and headlights.

Ensure that lights are clean and number key are clearly visible and also legible.

Headlamps, turn signals, and also hazard signals are imperative in negative weather control conditions.

Be visible Be Seen: The an ext visible you space the less likely the is that somebody will certainly hit you, and it's always a good idea to be able to see in prior of you when you're driving, nevertheless of the weather exterior your vehicle.

Check that mirrors room clear and also the windows room demisted thoroughly.

When control in hot weather, store an eye ~ above the warning lights and also gauges, particularly the temperature gauge.

Be sure to have sufficient fuel for a delay journey.


Emergency preparedness for bad weather driving

Once you space confident in your very own driving capacity and that your vehicle is in the best condition to journey in the bad weather, there room a couple of basic actions to prepare you because that the drive:

Listen and obey national and also local radio/TV announcements and warnings about road and weather problems for her journey.

Do not attempt to overcome at a flow crossing where the road has been closed - no issue how large your automobile is!

Buckle Up! - Be certain you and also your passengers wear seatbelts at all times. Not only is that the law, the can also save lives, particularly when driving in negative weather.

Look out for indicators warning that adverse problems – including fixed signs, such as those warning of exposure to high winds, and variable message signs on motorways the warn that fog, snow and also which may display temporary slower rate limits.

In the event of journeys the a crucial nature inform the family/friends of your estimated time of come (ETA) and also carry a mobile phone.

Ensure your mobile call is charged and have a vehicle charger prepared - girlfriend may gain stranded and also need to contact for help.

If you space to be prevented indigenous driving further – be ready to obtain off the road.

If in a worst instance scenario friend do obtain stranded in eye or cold you will certainly wish to be prepared. You can buy or even produce an emergency kit to have in your vehicle before departure. This can include

Protective clothing and blanket, including a high visibility jacket and also a torch/flashlight with batteries.

Water, snack foodstuffs like high-calorie fruit bars, granola bars, nuts etc.

If friend have an are and may be travelling in snow take into consideration keeping extra clothing, eye boots, flares, a shovel, and even strips the carpeting to ar under your tyres if your vehicle becomes stuck.

First-aid kit

Battery run leads

A general practitioners navigation an equipment or map for any kind of unplanned diversions

A towing rope


Safe Driving techniques in negative weather

Once you get recorded on the roadway in bad weather conditions it is crucial to monitor the adhering to safe driving techniques:

Make certain your headlights are on –Be visible Be Seen!

Obey all road and traffic signs- safety authorities write-up this details with an excellent reason.

Be alert and drive defensively.

Be prepared for the road problems to readjust over relatively short distances.

Allow yourself enough time and an are to react to a suddenly emergency and move from harm’s means or to involved a stop safely.

Increase your following distance - remain well behind the roadway user in front as stopping ranges can it is in ten times greater than on dry roads.

Slow down. Braking takes longer on slippery roads — the slow you go, the simpler it will certainly be for you to maintain control and also stop your vehicle.

Don't sluggish down so much that you come to be a hazard to other vehicle drivers – Rather relocate off the roadway surface than obtaining to a complete stall in locations of negative visibility.

Be mindful that in lessened visibility conditions, chauffeurs tend to follow the tail lights of vehicles in front of them.

Use unique caution near intersections. Never ever assume that since you have actually the green light or the appropriate of method that the intersection will be clear — constantly scan ahead to clues potential hazards.

Avoid unnecessary lane changes - stay in one roadway as lot as possible

Keep 2 hands firmly on the wheel and two eyes on the road at all times.

Remain alert by continuously scanning the totality area.

Drive extremely closely when the roads are icy. Protect against sudden actions together these could reason loss of control.

Accelerate and also brake very gently - Drive specifically slowly ~ above bends wherein loss of regulate is more likely.

Brake significantly on the straight prior to you reach a bend. Having slowed down, command smoothly ring the bend, staying clear of sudden actions.

Be cautious near elevated structures, such together bridges and also highway overpasses, as they generally freeze first.

If you acquire stuck in a negative storm or blizzard and you can't see a close ar to seek assistance, remain put! It's straightforward to get puzzled in a negative storm, and you may gain lost.

Stay in the car and also turn on the emergency flashers till the problems improve or help arrives.

If you gain stuck - avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by maintaining the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.

When you encounter problems when control in excessive heat –do not attempt to remove the radiator cap as soon as your car is hot, and also do no pour water end a hot radiator or engine. You have to wait a sufficient amount that time until your engine cools.

Never leave a child or pet in a parked car in extremely warm weather.


What to carry out in one emergency to avoid a crash

The safe driver will always consider the worst case scenarios and also what to perform in an emergency situation. The driver that knows what to carry out in an emergency is more likely to continue to be in control. What perform we require to recognize in the event of a skid top top slippery roads?

Identify the reason – that is either, Too lot Braking, Too much Steering, Too lot Acceleration or a combination of one or every one of these.

Remove the cause gently and smoothly

If your car has ABS it will certainly not skid under braking. If ABS is activated, save your foot on the brake and also steer about that what brought about you come break.

If your auto does not have actually ABS and starts to skid ~ above the brakes, pump the brake pedal really fast (Cadence Braking) and steer roughly that what led to you to break.

If your auto skids and also slews party -Turn the steering wheel in the very same direction together the skid and ease off the accelerator in ~ the very same time.

Avoid overcorrection with too lot steering.

Always look and also steer towards your intended course of travel. Save your eyes concentrated on where you want the vehicle to go.

Be ready for a second skid.

We would prefer to encourage driver alertness v regards come your very own driving, the control of others and also well together the surroundings! If you observe a car or van driving too quickly for the conditions, put some distance in between you and also their vehicle. If you see a vehicle in prior of you beginning to shed control, you'll should make split-second checks because that vehicles comes up behind you, potential dangers beside you, every while make a decision on just how you need to react in case one more driver loses regulate of your vehicle.

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If a crash can not be avoided friend may have actually to pick the lesser of two evils. If there's concrete to her left and also a steep ditch to your right, or a forest right off the road - you should keep these things in mind while you're control so that you have the right to make informed split-second decisions about the safest place to command your car in instance of an emergency.


It is our wish that more drivers can make notified decisions top top the roads. The an ext safety awareness us gain and also apply in ours driving ~ above the roads, the far better we are able to prevent and also reduce roadway crashes. We will proceed to search and share the advice of safe driving experts across the human being in our initiatives towards more secure roads!

Also, see safe driving techniques forced for part rather particular conditions:

Safe control in the Fog and also Mist