Tips for driving safely in adverse conditions

Adverse weather conditions when driving increase the risk of traffic accidents on different levels. Heavy rain, for example, increases accidents by 34%, according to a US study. On the other hand, traffic accident statistics also reveal the effect that the environment has. So far this year, more than 190 traffic accidents caused by environmental conditions have been registered, causing 120 injuries and 23 deaths. In 2022, there were 274 accidents, causing 152 injuries and 32 deaths. 

In view of this, Bladimir Vasquez, National Service Manager of Teojama Comercial, shares the following recommendations in order to drive safely in adverse conditions such as rain, fog, bends, mud, and gravel, amongst others. 

Tips for driving safely in adverse conditions: 

  • Rain: It is recommended to reduce your speed, as this allows for a greater reaction time and manoeuvrability. It is also important to keep your distance in order to allow for any emergency manoeuvre or braking. 
  • Bends: Turning bends at a suitable speed is the most important, as well as always looking to see if the bend is sloped and further reducing your speed if so.
  • Fog: Maintain a suitable distance between you and the vehicle in front; Use fog lights if you have them, or use flashing lights to warn the vehicle of your presence and follow the white line on the road. “In case there is no guideline, it is advised not to drive if the fog is too thick and to park in a safe area”, highlights the expert from Teojama Comercial. 
  • Traffic: Maintain your distance, slow down, and be alert for the emergency brake.
  • Streets with potholes: Slow down and don’t make sharp turns. 
  • Wind: Keep a suitable speed.
  • Snow: In case of snow or hail, it is recommended to slow down and if there is snow on the road, it is better to wait for it to melt, as it causes a loss of traction with the ground. 

Manoeuvres and key practices in adverse conditions: 

  • Suitable distance:  To determine a suitable distance, you should take a reference point and from there count for 3 seconds. This is the distance that will allow you to take any emergency action.
  • Regularly check the conditions and wear of the tyres: The tyres and steering system are what helps the adhesion and manoeuvrability of the vehicle, and thus these elements should be regularly checked and maintained to the standards defined by the manufacturer.
  • Slow down: This practice is key, as it allows for a greater margin for reaction. 
  • Use the windscreen wipers and turn on flashing lights: This is very important, especially to improve visibility. However, if the rain or snow is very heavy, it is better to stop driving. 
  • Brake correctly: Especially when going downhill, as this can cause certain parts to overheat and the brakes to stop working. In the case of vehicles with other kinds of brakes, it is ideal to use them

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