When driving on roads that may be slippery, the unexpected can happen at any moment. Rain, snow, or ice can turn an ordinary commute into a treacherous journey. During these challenging road conditions, driving requires more attention, care, and expertise. As a driver, it’s important to know how to navigate these situations safely and confidently. In this blog post, we’ll share ten tips for safe driving on slippery roads to help you stay in control and arrive at your destination without incident.
How Do Rain and Flooding Affect Road Safety?
Rain can cause hazardous driving conditions by reducing vehicle traction, maneuverability, and visibility. According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, these impacts prompt drivers to travel at lower speeds, reducing roadway capacity and increasing delay. Wet pavement also increases the risk of crashes, with 75% of weather-related crashes occurring annually on wet roads. Additionally, the US Department of Transportation reports that during rainfall, 47% of weather-related crashes happen, resulting in over 3,400 fatalities and 357,300 injuries annually.
Furthermore, the report highlights that flooding can limit or prevent access to submerged lanes, reducing roadway capacity and causing damage to infrastructure. Inland flooding, often following tropical storms or hurricanes, has historically been the most significant cause of fatalities and damage to roadway infrastructure.
What Do I Do When Driving on Roads That May Be Slippery?
- Prepare your vehicle
Regular maintenance of your vehicle is essential for safe driving on slippery roads. Check the tire pressure frequently and ensure they are properly inflated. It’s also crucial to inspect the tread depth of your tires, as worn-out tires can significantly reduce traction on slippery surfaces. Consider investing in high-quality winter tires designed to provide better grip and handling in adverse weather conditions. Additionally, ensure your windshield wipers are in good condition and fill up your windshield to maintain clear visibility.
- Reduce your speed
Slowing down is a fundamental rule for safe driving on slippery roads. By driving at a reduced speed, you give yourself more time to react to unexpected situations and maintain better control over your vehicle. Remember that it takes longer to stop on slippery surfaces, so adjusting your speed is important.
- Avoid sudden maneuvers
When driving on slippery roads, it’s crucial to minimize abrupt movements such as hard braking, quick acceleration, or sharp turns. These sudden maneuvers can disrupt the balance of your vehicle and lead to loss of control. Instead, apply gentle pressure to the gas pedal, brake smoothly and gradually, and steer with precision. By making gradual and controlled movements, you enhance your vehicle’s stability and reduce the risk of skidding.
- Use your headlights
Visibility is often compromised during adverse weather conditions. To ensure you are visible to other drivers and have a clear view of the road, it’s important to use your headlights. Even during the daytime, keeping your headlights on can significantly improve visibility and reduce the chances of accidents. This simple step allows other drivers to see you from a distance and helps you navigate through challenging road conditions more safely.
- Be cautious on bridges and overpasses
Bridges and overpasses are more prone to icing due to their exposure to cold air from all sides. As a result, these areas tend to freeze before and thaw after the rest of the road. When approaching bridges and overpasses on slippery roads, exercise extra caution. Reduce your speed well in advance and maintain a steady pace while crossing them.
- Don’t use cruise control
Cruise control may seem convenient, but avoid using it on slippery roads. You relinquish direct control over your vehicle’s speed and acceleration by relying on cruise control. In unpredictable conditions, it’s crucial to have full control to adapt quickly to changing road conditions. By manually controlling the speed and acceleration, you can control your actions more effectively and respond promptly to any challenges.
- Stay focused and minimize distractions
Distracted driving is dangerous, particularly on slippery roads where split-second decisions can make a significant difference. Avoid distractions such as using your phone, eating, or engaging in any other activities that take your attention away from the road. Instead, keep your focus on the task at hand, scan the road continuously, and anticipate any potential hazards. Staying focused allows you to react quickly to changing road conditions and make safer decisions.
- Stay calm and avoid panic
When driving on slippery roads, it’s natural to feel a sense of unease or panic if your vehicle starts to skid or slide. However, panicking can exacerbate the situation and lead to further loss of control. Instead, it’s important to stay calm and composed. If your vehicle starts to skid, avoid sudden braking or overreacting. Instead, gently steer in the direction you want to go and gradually apply the brakes to regain control. Panicking can cause you to tense up and make abrupt movements, worsening the skid or slide. By staying calm, you maintain a clearer focus and can better assess the situation and take appropriate corrective actions.
- Be aware of black ice
Black ice is a thin, transparent layer that forms on the road surface, often appearing like a wet spot. It is particularly treacherous because it is difficult to see, making it easy to lose control of your vehicle. Be cautious, especially in shaded areas, bridges, or overpasses, as these are common spots for black ice to form. If you encounter black ice, remain calm and avoid sudden movements. Take your foot off the gas pedal and let your vehicle decelerate gradually. Avoid braking or accelerating until you regain traction on the road.
- Stay informed and plan ahead
One of the best ways to ensure safe driving on slippery roads is to stay informed about weather conditions and plan your journeys accordingly. Before heading out, check the weather forecast and road condition reports. If severe weather conditions are expected, it’s advisable to delay your trip or choose alternative routes that are better maintained or less prone to slippery conditions. By planning ahead, you can minimize the risks of driving on slippery roads.
Protect Your Rights When Driving on Slippery Roads
When driving on roads that may be slippery, accidents can happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to slippery road conditions, seeking legal guidance to protect your rights and receive the compensation you deserve is crucial.
Pacin Levine, P.A., is here to help. Our skilled attorneys specialize in car accident cases and have a proven track record of successfully advocating for our clients. Don’t let the consequences of an accident on slippery roads weigh you down. Contact us at 1-800-24-7-CRASH (2727) for a free case consultation.