Tips for Driving in Severe Weather This Spring

Posted in Car Accident,Tennessee Accident Law on March 30, 2017

Middle Tennessee was hit with severe thunderstorms earlier this week, and a second round is on its way Thursday. Monday’s storm caused damage throughout the mid-state area, and Thursday’s storm is expected to be similarly damaging.

Per a report by WKRN.com, Monday’s storm brought damaging winds and large hail as it moved west to east, crossing over Nashville in the process. The storm caused trees to fall throughout Davidson County in areas like North Nashville, Belle Meade, and West End.

Hail was also reported throughout the area, with golf ball sized hail sightings in Decatur County and Perry County.

The threat of the storm forced attendees of Mule Day in Columbia, Tennessee, to evacuate the area and find shelter. The National Weather Service has indicated that it will send crews to Perry County and Lewis County to survey the damage created by Monday’s storm.

Follow These Tips to Reduce Your Severe Weather Driving Risks

Driving during any type of inclement weather can increase your risk of an accident—both due to the weather itself and due to the weather’s effects on the roadway and the behaviors of other drivers. The best tip to follow when severe weather threatens your area is to simply stay home. However, that’s not always possible, and you may get caught in severe weather that takes you by surprise.

If you must drive during a severe storm—or if a severe storm suddenly develops while you’re out—do your best to follow these tips:

  • Turn on your wipers and reduce your speed during heavy rainfall.

Rain makes roads slick, which creates a major crash risk, especially when drivers speed. Reducing your speed improves your vehicle’s braking distance, which is rendered less effective when the road is wet. In addition, driving under the speed limit also gives you more time to react to the movements of other vehicles. Finally, reducing your speed can make it easier to see out of your windshield, as moderate and heavy rain can be blinding at high speeds, even when your windshield wipers are on.

  • Tune your radio to local stations and watch for electronic signs to get weather updates.

Bad weather can change to dangerous weather in an instant. It’s important to know if the area you’re driving through is under a tornado watch or warning. If you’re driving during a heavy storm, tune your radio to a local FM or AM station to get updates on the current and future conditions. And if you’re driving on an interstate or highway, watch for electronic signs that indicate weather warnings.

  • Pull over if rainfall makes it difficult to see the road.

Although windshield wipers are highly effective at maintaining your visibility during light to moderate rain, they may be ineffective at removing water quickly enough during torrential downpours. If the rainfall is heavy enough to reduce your visibility, pull over in a safe location, such as a parking or shoulder, and turn on your emergency flashing lights to help other drivers see your vehicle. Stay inside your car until the rain’s intensity reduces.

  • Go inside a sturdy shelter if a tornado is nearby.

If a tornado warning is active and was spotted near you, pull over as soon as you can and take shelter in an interior room of a sturdy building. If there aren’t any buildings nearby and a tornado is approaching your location, stop your vehicle, keep your seat belt on, and cover your head and neck with a blanket or other protective item.

In addition to these tips, you can also prepare your vehicle for severe weather before it happens. Make sure your windshield wipers are effective and get replaced immediately if they become damaged or fail to clear water off your windshield. You should also test your vehicle’s lights, including headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and warning lights on a regular basis. Equipping your vehicle with emergency supplies, such as snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, battery-powered radio, traffic triangles, and flares can also help you be more prepared.

It’s important to be as cautious and prepared as possible when driving during severe weather, but slick roads and strong winds aren’t the only things that cause accidents when it’s gloomy outside. Too often, drivers fail to uphold their duty to drive safely during bad weather, causing serious accidents that hurt innocent victims.

If you or someone you know was hurt in a crash that was caused by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out the Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law can assist you after your accident, dial (615) 200-111 or complete a free online consultation form.