The Car Coach: Reduced Visibility
What should you do if you can't see the road ahead of you? This may sound like a silly question, but with recent news stories such as a big wreck on the Florida highways and smoke across the roads in Texas, drivers need to have a solution to emergencies that affect visibility. Lauren Fix, the Car Coach, has more.
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It may be smoke, fog, rain, or even a snowstorm that suddenly blocks your visibility of the road. Eighty percent of driving decisions are based on visibility. Protecting your visibility is more than just buying a good set of wiper blades, keeping your tires properly inflated, or purchasing new headlights.
Following the recent pile-up on a Florida highway that claimed 10 lives, here are some common sense pointers on what to do when you or other drivers are unable to see the road ahead.
Driving Tips For Driving In Reduced Visibility Conditions
1. Obviously, slow down and stay far back from the car bumper in front of you!
2. Stop your vehicle on the side of the road - BUT first look in your review mirror and watch traffic; put on your four-way flashers to let drivers around you know what you are doing.
3. When you look ahead and see a problem - find an exit. Stopping in a travel lane means that drivers coming from behind may not see your vehicle until it's too late to stop.
4. In a whiteout or dense fog, there's no warning that something is ahead of you. During bad weather, listen to local radio stations for information on local traffic and road conditions.
5. Drivers are responsible for maintaining control of their vehicles at all times, including avoiding hitting slow or stopped vehicles, no matter what the weather conditions.
6. Speed has a significant impact on what happens. Driving situations can change without warning when visibility suddenly goes from normal to almost nothing. This is why multi-tasking behind the wheel is stupid!
•When you slow down, you will greatly reduce the risk of rear-end collisions and chain reaction pile-ups.
7. Many highways have fog lines and median reflectors that will guide drivers to the road lines and the side of the road.
8. Stopping in the travel lanes is something drivers should never do. In many cases, conditions that created the poor visibility in the first place, like fog or snow, aren't likely to go away quickly.
9. Be aware of your surroundings. Drivers not only need to slow down but also avoid tailgating in low-visibility scenarios.
10. Turn on your headlights anytime you turn on your windshield wipers.
11. Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
12. If you do exit your vehicle, move away from the vehicle and stay over the guardrail to avoid injury.
13. Don't slow down so much that you become a risk to other drivers.
14. Be aware that in reduced visibility conditions, drivers tend to follow the taillights of vehicles in front of them.
15. If you must pull off of the road, pull as far off of the road as possible, turn off your headlights, take your foot off of the brake pedal, and turn on your hazard lights.
16. Make sure you have a pair of sunglasses in your vehicle in case of bright sunlight.
Your driving decisions can be a matter of life or death.