According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, poor weather is behind 21% of the nearly 6 million car accidents that happen each year.
Too many people underestimate the weather conditions around them. Because of that, they end up damaging their vehicles, getting injured, or even getting killed.
To help you stay safe while driving in a thunderstorm or other type of dangerous condition, we’ve put together this guide. By the time you finish, you’ll have the knowledge you need to stay safe on the road—no matter the conditions.
Read on to learn about what you need to do and avoid doing when driving in bad weather.
Do Understand the Weather Before Setting Out
Many people who get caught in bad and dangerous weather didn’t have to be on the road in the first place. Make sure that anytime you set out on the road, you first check the forecast.
If you see that the weather looks bad, consider staying home, if possible. There isn’t a non-essential event that’s worth attending if it places your safety and wellbeing in jeopardy.
If you do have to leave your home, make sure to take it slow. People will be understanding if you have to arrive a little bit late.
Do Tune Into a Weather Station While Driving
Weather conditions can change in a matter of minutes or seconds. Conditions that you can drive through without a problem can transform into something much deadlier before you realize it.
To ensure that you stay up to date with the latest weather updates, turn your radio to a local weather station. You want to know what to listen to and look out for.
If you discover that the weather will only worsen, consider pulling over and waiting for the worst of it to pass. Again, you can also reschedule the event you’re headed to, if possible.
Do Use Caution
It should go without saying, but the moment the sun disappears behind the clouds and the weather starts to turn, you need to be extra cautious.
Make sure that your eyes stay on the road at all times. You need to be ready to respond to any number of different factors. To do that, don’t let yourself get distracted.
Don’t worry about chatting with other passengers, looking at the scenery around you, or changing the radio station (unless it’s to the weather channel). Your focus should be on ensuring the safety of you and your passengers.
Do Keep Your Hands on the Wheel
Are you someone who drives with one hand on the wheel and another on your lap? Are you guilty of driving with your knees?
If you’re not someone who keeps both hands on the wheel at all times, you need to become that sort of person when the weather gets bad.
Wind speeds often pick up during thunderstorms and other types of bad weather. If you’re not paying attention, strong gusts of wind can blow your car into the other lane or even into the ditch.
Keep a firm and controlled grasp on the steering wheel until the bad weather subsides. If something does happen and you end up getting into an accident, visit this auto accident lawyer.
Don’t Use Cruise Control
While cruise control is a great way to control your speed and not worry about holding down the gas pedal, it’s not ideal for certain situations. One of those is during thunderstorms.
If it’s raining too hard, water can start to accumulate on the surface of the road. When you use cruise control, you can actually cause your car to hydroplane, where it glides on the surface of the water.
Don’t use cruise control, and if you start to hydroplane, avoid slamming on the brakes. Instead, guide your car in the right direction until the water on the road dissipates.
Don’t Panic if There’s Lightning
Lighting can seem scary, especially when you feel that you’re out in the open, like on the road. However, the interior of your car is one of the safest places to be during a thunder and lightning storm.
The exterior of your car is metal, so it acts as a conductor that directs electricity into the earth. Because of that, most passengers in cars that get struck by lightning live to tell the tale.
However, as with any extreme weather, your best bet is to stay home if you can. You don’t want to risk what you don’t have to!
Don’t Get Too Close to Other Drivers
When the weather starts to turn sour, many people make the mistake of trying to zoom back to their homes. This puts them close to other drivers, which is a dangerous thing in thunderstorms and other types of bad weather.
Visibility is often one of the first things to go south in a storm, and when you’re too close to another driver, the odds that you’ll hit them go up. Stay as far away as possible to stay safe.
In addition to keeping your distance, make sure to turn on your headlights, and if necessary, your hazards. This helps other drivers know exactly where you are on the road.
Stay Safe When Driving in a Thunderstorm
Driving in a thunderstorm might seem scary, but it doesn’t need to be.
Use these thunderstorm driving tips to make driving in bad weather a breeze. Err on the side of caution, and you’ll make it to your destination without a problem.
Are you on the hunt for more tips on how to stay safe behind the wheel of a car? If so, make sure to check out the rest of our site for more helpful guides, tips, and explanations.