Wet weather is finally here, so the Mill Valley Police Department offers some tips for driving during different types of inclement weather. It is always best not to drive in storm conditions, but if you must drive, make sure your vehicle is operating safely and stay informed on weather conditions.
- Improve visibility by turning on your lights (and defroster, if necessary). California law requires your headlights to be on when your wipers are on.
- Avoid sudden moves – try to drive in the tracks of the car ahead, reduce your speed and allow for additional stopping distance.
- Hydroplaning occurs when the tires of your car lose contact with the road and ride up on a wedge of water. Make sure your tires have proper treads and inflation.
- If you do hydroplane, keep the steering wheel straight and take your foot off the gas. Don’t hit your brakes or try to steer. As you slow, the weight of the car will cause it to settle onto the road.
- Be very cautious in light rain or mist as oil and dirt on the roadway surfaced make driving extra slippery.
- Remember, puddles can hide potentially damaging potholes.
- Do not attempt to drive through flood waters. The water may be deeper than it looks. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles!
- If you happen to drive into an area of swiftly-running water, the force of the current may pull your car to one side. If this happens, ease off the gas but don’t touch the brakes, then steer away from the swift water.
- If your car is caught in a flash flood, get out of your car immediately and move to higher ground.
- It is safest to stay in your car when lighting is present. When parking your car, do so in an open area away from trees.
- Watch for flooded roadways.
- If you are driving after a thunderstorm, watch for downed branches and power lines or other debris lying in the road.
- Pull over during a hail storm as visibility is greatly reduced and sometimes the force can shatter windshields.
- If you see a patch of fog ahead, slow down before you reach it.
- Turn on your low beam headlights or fog lights.
- Turn on your defroster and windshield wipers.
- Be alert for slow moving vehicles and traffic stopped ahead.
- In heavy fog, roll all your windows down. You may actually hear other cars before you see them.
The Mill Valley Police Department suggests this helpful site for more information on driving safely in winter weather conditions. Be safe out there!