Driving in bad weather conditions can be a daunting task. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can navigate the roads safely, even in adverse weather driving conditions.
In New South Wales (NSW), where weather conditions can be unpredictable, it’s essential for drivers to understand the potential dangers and adapt their driving techniques accordingly. In this blog, we will explore various hazardous driving conditions in NSW and provide valuable tips on how to adapt when driving in adverse weather conditions, ensuring the safety of all NSW drivers.
Understanding Hazardous Driving Conditions
Hazardous driving conditions encompass a range of scenarios that pose increased risks to drivers. Some common hazardous conditions in NSW include:
Rain and Wet Roads
Rainfall can create slippery road surfaces, reducing tire traction and increasing the risk of skidding or hydroplaning. Reduced visibility due to heavy rain further complicates the situation.
Fog is characterised by low-lying clouds that limit visibility. Driving in dense fog can be extremely challenging, as it impairs your ability to see other vehicles, road signs, and hazards ahead.
Strong winds, particularly during storms or in open areas, can affect the stability of your vehicle. It can cause reduced control, sway, or even push your vehicle off course.
Hail and Storms
Hailstorms can create dangerous driving conditions due to reduced visibility, slippery roads, and potential damage to your vehicle from hailstones.
Bushfires and Smoke
During bushfire events, smoke can reduce visibility significantly, making driving hazardous. Additionally, nearby fires can lead to road closures and detours.
Adapting to Weather Conditions While Driving
To stay safe on the roads during hazardous conditions, it’s crucial to adapt your driving techniques accordingly. Here are some valuable tips to help you navigate these challenges:
Prepare in Advance
Before embarking on your journey, check weather forecasts and road conditions. If adverse weather is predicted, consider delaying or rescheduling your trip if possible. Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained, including windshield wipers, headlights, and tires.
Reduce your speed when driving in hazardous conditions. Slowing down allows for better control and reduces the chances of skidding or losing control of your vehicle. Remember, posted speed limits are for ideal conditions and may not be suitable during hazardous weather.
Increase Following Distance
Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. In wet conditions, it takes longer to stop due to reduced tire grip. Allowing extra space provides additional time to react and brake if needed.
In low visibility conditions such as rain, fog, or smoke, use your headlights to increase your visibility to other drivers. Ensure your headlights are on low beams and avoid using high beams, as they can reflect off the fog or raindrops, further impairing visibility.
Stay Focused and Alert
Keep your attention solely on driving and avoid distractions. Hazards can appear suddenly, requiring quick reactions. Avoid using mobile devices, adjusting the radio, or engaging in activities that take your eyes off the road.
Defogging and Demisting
During foggy conditions, use your vehicle’s defogging and demisting features to improve visibility. Use the front and rear defrosters, along with the air conditioning system, to clear fogged-up windows.
Avoid Sudden Manoeuvres
Make smooth and gentle movements when steering, accelerating, or braking. Sudden manoeuvres can lead to loss of control, especially on slippery surfaces.
Be Mindful of Aquaplaning
Aquaplaning, or hydroplaning, occurs when your vehicle’s tires lose contact with the road surface due to water buildup. If you experience aquaplaning, ease off the accelerator, avoid braking or sudden steering inputs, and maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel until traction is regained.
Monitor Road Signs and Warnings
Pay close attention to road signs, electronic message boards, and warnings issued by authorities. These provide valuable information about road closures, detours, and potential hazards.
Driving in hazardous conditions requires extra caution and adaptation to ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other road users.
Remember, all NSW drivers are required to have a Greenslip or CTP insurance to drive legally. Greenslips 4 Earth provides a convenient platform to compare Greenslip prices from leading insurers, ensuring you have the coverage you need while contributing to a greener future.