Regardless of where you live, severe weather can creep up on you at any time. From temperature swings to unexpected downpours, and the occasional snow, it’s important for drivers to be weather aware before getting behind the wheel.
Below we outline key reminders for drivers if severe weather is predicted.
This is an essential resource for any driver. According to the National Safety Council, an emergency kit should include items such as:
- A spare tire that is already inflated and a jack for your vehicle;
- A flashlight with extra batteries;
- A first aid kit;
- Jumper cables; and,
- Nonperishable food items and bottled water.
It is critical to check an emergency kit frequently (a few times a year) to ensure that all items are still working and if anything needs to be replaced. In the colder months, too, items such as heavy blankets and a shovel are beneficial to also have in an emergency kit.
Heavy Rain and Flooding
If heavy rain or flooding is predicted, drivers should evaluate whether they have to go out or not. That’s because driving in rain or flood conditions may be intimidating for some drivers and cause them not to drive as well.
If a driver has to go out during heavy rain or feels confident driving in heavy rain, then they should keep the following factors in mind:
- Check windshield wipers: ideally, this would be done before it started raining. Ensure that the windshield wipers are working properly and if they need to be replaced, do so before driving. To be even more ahead of the game, drivers should have a spare set of windshield wipers available at all times in case of an emergency.
- Drive slow: Slow and steady is the safest method when it comes to driving in heavy rain. There is no reason to speed (even when it’s not raining) as this puts drivers and others on the road more at risk of an accident.
- Don’t brake suddenly: A sudden brake on a dry surface is not ideal but can prevent an accident from happening. However, when trying to brake on a wet surface, the vehicle is more likely to slide and skid. This action can result in serious or even deadly consequences for the driver or others.
- Don’t drive in standing water: this goes along with the common phrase, “Turn around, Don’t drown.” It only takes six inches of water to reach the bottom of most sedans and a foot of water is enough to carry away most vehicles. Even if the water doesn’t seem deep, it could be difficult to judge. The safest option is to avoid any roads that have standing water.
Along with heavy rain sometimes comes thunderstorms. Dangers for drivers that can come with thunderstorms include:
- Flying debris; and,
Above all else, if a driver does not feel comfortable driving in these weather conditions, they should not navigate the roads.
While it’s not as common in southern California, snow is occasionally forecasted and can prove to be difficult for drivers. Even a light dusting of snow can be dangerous.
If snow is predicted, drivers should remember the following:
- Check the tire pressure: this should be checked before going on the road. Tires perform better when they are properly inflated. In colder temperatures, tires are more likely to lose air inside them.
- Read the road ahead: drivers should proceed with caution if it appears that the road ahead is slick.
- Have a full tank of gas: if drivers get stuck in a traffic jam due to snowy conditions, not having a full tank of gas could turn into a more serious situation.
- Don’t use cruise control: In snowy conditions, drivers must remain focused on the road and change speeds accordingly depending on the road conditions.
On the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, extreme heat can also prove to be dangerous for drivers. Before driving, the following should be kept in mind:
- Check fluids: drivers should ensure their coolant (which can help prevent overheating), oil, brake fluid, power-steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield wiper fluid levels are not low. Having any one of these fluids not at the correct level before driving could lead to trouble while driving.
- Check the battery: temperature fluctuations take a toll on a vehicle’s battery. An average battery lasts between three to four years. Many auto shops will check a vehicle’s battery for free. Before driving in extreme weather conditions, drivers should check their vehicle’s battery and replace it if need be.
- Take the highway: highways are usually better maintained and able to handle extreme heat compared to main or side streets. This is essential for tires and preventing a potential accident.
I Was Injured During a Severe Weather Event
Drivers and severe weather are not the safest combinations. As much as drivers try to be cautious, accidents can still happen. Even in an accident, though, if you were injured, you have every right to be properly compensated for your pain and suffering.
The Southern California personal injury attorneys at The Sexton Law Firm are ready to fight for you so you can get back to living your life. Schedule a free consultation with our experienced team today.