Extreme Driving Conditions

Reduced Traction and Visibility

During the coming months, professional drivers will have to adjust their vehicle driving due to reduced traction and visibility. Reduce your vehicle speed to compensate for the reduction in traction to assure that steering control is maintained. Maximum traction occurs when driving on a dry and clean paved highway. Traction is severely reduced when the roadways become wet, either from rain or melting snow. Wet roads demand that speed be reduced to compensate for 1) loss of traction and, 2) the increase in stopping distances. Speed must be reduced even more when the roadway becomes covered with ice or snow. As the temperature drops, the experienced driver must constantly be alert for freezing conditions on wet roads. Watch the spray coming from the wheels of other vehicles on the highway. As long as you can see a spray, the roadway has not started to freeze. A sudden lack of spray coming from the tires of other vehicles on wet roads could mean "black ice," if the temperature is at or near the freezing mark. Also, remember that bridge decks and overpasses freeze before the rest of the highway. Be sure to be particularly alert for automobiles losing control on bridges.

Beware of Strong Winds

Strong winds often occur during weather changes and can reduce the stability of empty trailers. Large, high profile van trailers are most susceptible to high winds, but any trailer can be affected when empty. When traction is reduced due to rain, snow or ice on the roadway, the informed driver must be aware that high winds can affect the stability of trailers and adjust his or her driving accordingly.

Beware of Fog

Slow down when visibility is reduced and allow more following distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Remember, you must be able to stop your vehicle within the distance that you see ahead. Do not stop your vehicle on the roadway unless the road is blocked. Continue to drive at a safe, reduced speed until the fog clears or until you can get your vehicle safely off of the highway.

Be Prepared

Be prepared for cold weather in case of breakdown or blocked highways. Dress in layers and keep dry. Dressing in layers allows for temperature changes by either putting on or taking off more clothing. If the temperature drops or it becomes necessary to leave the vehicle, it is a simple matter to add clothing. Have blankets, first aid kit, matches and a flashlight available in your vehicle in case of an emergency.