When bad weather hits Charlotte, the number one recommendation from everyone is to just stay at home and stay off the roads. But for many people, that just isn’t possible.
“You have to go to work, you have to pick up the kids at school, you have to go grocery shopping. Life just doesn’t stop when snow, sleet or rain hits Charlotte,” says Thomas Bumgardner, an attorney with the Law Office of Thomas D. Bumgardner, PLLC. “According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 1.2 million people are involved in crashes due to weather, and we don’t want you to be part of that statistic,” Bumgardner explains
Mother Nature can throw different kinds of weather curveballs at us and there are different ways to handle each one. We want you to be prepared when you have to head out on the roads.
Driving In The Rain
It’s no secret that even one raindrop in Charlotte can make drivers and traffic a little wacky.
But keeping these tips in mind will keep you safer on the road:
- Watch The Road Surface – Keep in mind that the roads are at their slickest when the rain starts because the water and oil from cars mix together. Eventually, the rain will wash away these slick spots. But it’s best to keep an eye out for any dark puddles that may contain a good mixture of oil and water.
- Beware of Hydroplaning – Hydroplaning happens when you drive through a puddle and your tire doesn’t touch the road. This usually happens when you’re driving too fast for conditions. In order to regain control, lift your foot off the gas and let your vehicle coast so that the tires will eventually touch the roadway.
- Do Not Drive In Flooded Areas – We know this sounds like common sense, but the depth of a puddle can be deceiving to drivers. You may drive through what you believe to be shallow waters and turns out to be much deeper than you thought. If you are unsure, it’s best to just turn around and find another way home.
Driving In The Snow
At least once or twice a year, snow falls in the Charlotte area and pretty much paralyzes the Queen City.
But if you have to venture out, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Keep It Slow – Go at a speed that you’re comfortable with, even if it’s super duper slow. You will find that the majority of people on the road will be going as slow as you are because many people in Charlotte aren’t used to driving in the snow.
- Don’t Drive Too Close To Other Cars – You should keep at least 100 yards (the length of a football field) in between you and the car in front of you. That way you will have plenty of time to brake if the car in front of you is braking.
- Turn In A Skid – It’s easy to go into panic mode if you start to skid in the snow. The best thing to do is to turn in the same direction as the skid. Just remain calm, take your foot off the brake and gas pedals and gently turn the steering wheel in the same direction that you’re sliding. This will help the car correct itself.
- Avoid a Spin Out – Spin Outs usually happen on curves or turns. The best thing to remember is that you should brake before a curve or turn, not during it. This way you’re slowed down enough before the turn or curve so that you can accelerate slightly and maintain traction.
Driving On Ice
Icy roads are the most dangerous condition you can drive on because there really is no easy way to do it.
But if you come across an icy road, we have some tips on staying safe:
- Lay Off The Brakes – If you’re driving and come across an icy road, you should remain calm and don’t hit the brakes or make any sudden movements. Slow down as much as you can and find a safe location, like a parking lot, to stop and park your vehicle. It’s best to stay where you are and wait until the threat of icy roads has passed.
- Beware of Black Ice – Black ice is the hardest thing to detect because it will look just like asphalt. Be careful while going over bridges and overpasses because those areas will freeze first. Also pay close attention to water spray from other vehicles around you. If the roads look wet but there isn’t a water spray coming from the vehicles, then that means there are icy patches.
Driving in the Fog
Driving through thick, dense fog can be scary because you can’t see directly in front of you.
There are some important factors to remember so you can make sure you’re seen by your fellow drivers:
- Turn on Your Headlights – It’s important to always keep your headlights on while driving through foggy conditions. Remember, this is so other cars will be able to see you.
- Do Not Use High Beams – Your high beam headlights can actually make it more difficult for you to see. The headlights can reflect off of the water droplets in the fog and hurt your visibility. It’s best to just keep your low beam headlights on at all times.
- Stay Back From Other Cars – While driving through fog, you may think it’s better to follow closer to the car in front of you so that you can see their brake lights. This can create a dangerous situation and even a pile-up if the car in front of you suddenly brakes and you’re too close. Just stay back and focus on the road.
- Use the Line As Your Guide – Follow the lines on the road to ensure that you stay in your lane. But be sure to not just fixate on the line. Make sure you are paying attention to all of your surroundings.
It’s always ideal to stay off the roads if the conditions outside are dangerous, but we understand that staying at home is not always feasible. We hope these tips will help you feel more confident and safe while out on the roads.
If you are involved in a vehicle crash and you believe it was caused by someone else’s negligence, contact our law office. We will fight for you to make sure you get the compensation and justice that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at (704) 870-4779 for a free consultation.