Severe weather driving tips
It's spring in East Tennessee, and that means severe weather can erupt with little warning. Before your next long drive, take a few minutes to make sure your vehicle is ready if you get caught in a sudden storm. The following tips will help you prepare.
First, always make sure your vehicle is road-ready. In particular, check that your tires are inflated to manufacturer specifications and have plenty of tread. Also ensure that your windshield wipers are in good working order and that the blades remove water from the windshield without leaving streaks or smudges. In heavy rain, your tires need to be at their best to grip the road while keeping the car from hydroplaning, and your windshield wipers must be working correctly to provide you with maximum visibility.
Second, always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, stocked with standard items like flashlights (check the batteries) or light sticks, blankets, a first-aid kit, flares or fluorescent distress markers, jumper cables and simple tools.
Third, before you start out, check weather forecasts and road conditions, so you know what to expect. If you are taking a long trip, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be arriving, so that if you don’t arrive at your destination in timely fashion, someone will know to look for you.
Many drivers now rely on in-vehicle wireless systems or cell phone alerts to warn them of dangerous driving conditions and assume that if they are delayed by bad weather, they will be able to use their phones to let loved ones know their status. But severe weather can disrupt wireless service and wireless coverage can be blocked by mountains and other terrain, so it’s always best to check conditions ahead of time and tell someone your destination and approximate arrival time.
In spite of all precautions, you may still get caught by unexpected weather events. If you find yourself in a rain squall and elect to keep driving, observe all the usual wet-weather driving precautions, such as turning on your headlights, maintaining good distance between vehicles, allowing extra distance for braking and driving slowly. Do not drive into standing water – remember: Turn around, don’t drown.
In an intense downpour or lightning storm, it’s best to pull off the road until it passes. Be sure to move your vehicle as far onto the shoulder as possible and away from any trees that could fall on it. Stay inside the car, avoid touching metal, and keep your emergency lights flashing so that travelers trying to continue through the storm can see your car.
In case of emergency situations, such as tornadoes or floods, follow the National Weather Service’s guidance for drivers.
If you’re not sure your car is ready for East Tennessee’s abrupt spring weather changes, why not schedule a service check with us today?