Driving in Cold and Wet Weather

Jan 26, 2021
by Julie East

According to AAA, cold and wet road conditions contribute to nearly 1.2 million traffic accidents each year. Winter driving conditions such as rain, snow, and ice dramatically affect the braking distance of a vehicle. For your safety and peace of mind, become acquainted with the following tips for safe driving in bad conditions.

START WITH YOUR VEHICLE

Safety starts before you get behind the wheel. The cold weather brings out the worst in automobiles.  These measures of caution are suggested, because you often will not see danger until it is too late:

  • Check the antifreeze
  • Check the wipers and fill the washer fluid
  • Check the headlights
  • Check the heater
  • Check the defroster
  • Check all hoses and belts
  • Tune up the engine
  • Check the tires
  • Check the battery & alternator
  • Make sure you have a jack, lug wrench, and spare tire
  • Keep a flashlight in your vehicle and check the batteries regularly
  • Keep a small first aid kit in your vehicle
  • Keep jumper cables in your vehicle
  • Keep a few feet of tow rope in your vehicle
  • Keep an ice scraper in your vehicle.

SLOW DOWN

Reduce your speed and allow yourself four seconds stopping distance between you and the car ahead.  The rain reduces the traction between the tires and the road’s surface.  The street is extra slippery when light rain mixes with oil and dirt on the surface of the road.  The water brings those oils to the surface, making it slick.

If you get caught in a slick situation and your car starts to glide or hydroplane, don’t panic or slam on the brakes. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, lift your foot off the accelerator, and let the vehicle coast (making sure not to turn the steering wheel) until you feel your vehicle get traction again.

NO CRUISE CONTROL

Cruise control is a fantastic feature in normal, dry conditions, but when used in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle increases. To prevent loss of traction, the driver may need to reduce the car’s speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is on. Avoid using cruise control to allow the driver more options to choose from when responding to a potential loss-of-traction situation, thus maximizing your safety.

Although we cannot control every condition or situation, driving smart and preparing your vehicle for cold and wet weather can help avoid accidents and costly repairs.

How can Lofton Safety help? Workers have a right to a safe workplace. If you have questions regarding safety issues or training, contact Lofton Safety Services at 337-330-2642 or info@loftonsafety.com. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers’ Rights, Employer Responsibilities and other services, visit www.osha.gov.

About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today.