Driving Tips for Adverse Weather

View of the highway through rain drenched windshield.

No matter how much driving experience you have, or what kind of weather you're driving in, you should always remember this simple rule of thumb: Never drive faster than what is safe for the current conditions of the road. Here are some tips on how to drive during adverse weather condition:


Dense fog is statistically known as the most dangerous condition to drive in because of how intensely it can impair a driver's vision of the road. The safest way to handle fog is not to drive in it, if possible. But, if you must
drive, keep the following in mind:

  • Do NOT use your high-beam headlights! Doing so will reflect light off the fog ahead of you, making it even harder to see. Instead, turn on your regular headlights, or, your fog lights, if you have them.
  • Use the white line on the right side of the road. This will help guide you and keep you in your lane. It will also prevent your vision from being impaired by the headlights of oncoming traffic.
  • Maintain a significant distance between you and the car in front of you. Give yourself plenty of time to stop abruptly, if necessary.
  • Use your turn signals early. Give cars behind you plenty of notice that you'll be slowing down to make a turn.

Water on the Road

Slow down when there is a lot of water on the road. In a heavy rain at speeds of 50 mph or more, your tires can lose all contact with the road and then your vehicle will be riding on water or “hydroplaning.” A slight
change of direction, applying the brakes, or a gust of wind could throw your vehicle into a skid. If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, slow down gradually—do not apply the brakes.

Slippery Roads

Slow down at the first sign of rain, especially aer a dry spell. This is when many roads are the most slippery, because oil and dust have not washed away. A slippery road will not give your tires the grip they need. Drive
more slowly than you would on a dry road. Adjust your speed as follows:

  • Wet road-go 5 to 10 mph slower.
  • Packed snow-reduce your speed by half.
  • Ice-slow to a crawl.

Some road surfaces are more slippery than others when wet and usually have warning signs posted. Here are some clues to help you spot slippery roads:

  • On cold, wet days, shade from trees or buildings can hide spots of ice. These areas freeze first and dry out last.
  • Bridges and overpasses tend to freeze before the rest of the road does. They can hide spots of ice.
  • If it starts to rain on a hot day, the pavement can be very slippery for the first several minutes. Heat causes oil in the asphalt to come to the surface. The oil makes the road slippery until the rain washes the oil off the surface of the road.

High Winds

High winds can be a hazard while driving, especially to larger vehicles, such as trucks, campers, and vehicles with trailers. Some precautions for driving in high winds include:

  • Reduce your speed. Slowing down gives you better control over the vehicle and will give you more time to react in the event your vehicle gets hit by a strong gust of wind.
  • Maintain a firm hand position on the steering wheel. Strong wind gusts are unpredictable, and if you are not holding the wheel properly, gusts can be strong enough to cause the steering wheel to be jerked out of your hands.
  • Be alert. Look well ahead and watch for any debris on the road. High winds can cause debris to litter the highway or can even throw debris directly into your path. By looking ahead you give yourself more time
  • to react to road hazards.
  • Not using cruise control. You can maintain maximum control of the accelerator (gas) pedal when unpredictable gusts of wind occur.
  • Be proactive. Wait for the storm to blow over. It may be safer to pull over and take a break.

Note: Be mindful of opening up building and car doors during high winds. The high winds could cause the door to slam into another person, vehicle or object causing injury or damage.