Missouri weather can be unpredictable, and inclement weather can create dangerous driving conditions. As firefighters, we have witnessed the tragic consequences of driving in bad weather. That's why the Wentzville Fire Protection District wants to share essential tips for staying safe while driving in inclement weather in Missouri.
Check the Weather and Plan ahead
Before you get on the road, check the weather conditions and plan your route accordingly. Avoid driving in severe weather conditions if possible. If you must drive, plan for extra time to reach your destination and anticipate delays. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re prepared:
Monitor weather forecasts: Stay updated on the latest weather reports before you leave the house. You can check local news stations, weather apps, or websites for up-to-date information on road conditions and potential hazards.
Adjust your route: If possible, try to avoid driving in severe weather conditions. If you must drive, plan for extra time to reach your destination and choose routes that are less likely to be affected by hazardous weather conditions. Avoid hills or steep inclines, as they can be more challenging to navigate in inclement weather.
Prepare for emergencies: Even if you check the weather and plan ahead, unexpected situations can still arise. Bring a charged phone, a first-aid kit, extra blankets, food, and water in case of an emergency.
Inform others of your plans: Let someone know your route and expected arrival time. If you get stuck or stranded, this will help ensure that someone knows your whereabouts and can send help if needed.
Prepare Your Vehicle for Inclement Weather
Before you hit the road in inclement weather, it's vital to ensure that your vehicle is prepared to handle the conditions. Preparing your vehicle correctly can help you avoid accidents and keep you and your passengers safe. Here are some tips to get your car ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
Check your vehicle's tire pressure, battery, brakes, and windshield wipers
Ensure that your headlights and taillights are working correctly
Fill up your windshield washer fluid
Consider adding winter tires or chains for snowy and icy conditions
Know How to React During Inclement Weather
Knowing how to react during inclement weather can be the difference between staying safe on the road or being involved in a potentially dangerous situation. It's important to understand the specific hazards that come with different types of weather and the appropriate actions to take when those hazards arise. Whether you're driving in heavy rain, snow, or ice, being prepared and knowing how to react can help keep you and others on the road safe.
Rain: Slow down, increase your following distance, and turn on your headlights. If the rain is too heavy, pull over to a safe location and wait for the storm to pass.
Snow and Ice: Reduce your speed, increase your following distance, and use winter tires or chains if necessary. Avoid sudden braking or acceleration, and use caution when driving on hills.
Fog: Slow down, turn on your headlights, and avoid using high beams, as they can reflect back and reduce visibility.
Tornado: If you see a tornado while driving, pull over to a safe location and get out of your car. If possible, take shelter in a low-lying area, like a ditch or culvert.
Tips for Good Driving in Bad Weather
Driving in bad weather can be challenging, but knowing how to handle your vehicle during inclement weather is essential. However, many of the tips that help make driving safer in rainy or icy conditions are also helpful in everyday driving conditions. Whether it's raining, sleeting, or shining, the following tips will help you stay safe on the road.
Always wear your seatbelt and ensure that all passengers do the same
Keep a safe distance from other vehicles on the road
Avoid using cruise control in inclement weather
Avoid distractions, such as texting, eating, or adjusting the radio
Stay informed about current weather conditions by checking local weather reports before and during your trip
When in Doubt, Stay Home
If the weather conditions are too severe, consider postponing your trip or finding an alternative means of transportation. If you must drive, remember to take it slow and stay focused on the road. Driving in inclement weather can be challenging, but with these tips and guidelines from the Wentzville Fire Protection District, you can ensure your safety on the road. Remember to plan ahead, prepare your vehicle, drive cautiously, and know how to handle skids and slides. Stay safe out there!
About the Author
Wentzville Fire District is one of the largest fire districts in St. Charles County, covering 88 square miles. The fire district is committed to serving and protecting our community through the highest quality of fire protection, prevention, education, and community outreach.