Illinois is a wonderful place to live. Residents can choose between the big city of Chicago and small-town life, and with three distinct seasons, it’s a beautiful place to boot. However, its unique position on the globe means this state experiences extreme weather conditions all year long.
Gazing out the window at a rainy day is one thing, but most of us have to hop in the car and drive in less than ideal conditions. That can cause some serious problems.
It’s important to stay safe on the road, even if it does become a challenge in inclement weather. Make sure you know the right ways to adjust how you drive according to the seasons with these tips.
Know the Rules of the Road
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, every driver should confidently know the rules of the road.
There’s no doubt that teens would do well to answer practice driving questions online before attempting to take the permit test or driver’s license test. Adults would do well to brush up on their road knowledge too!
Do you know which direction to turn your wheel when parking downhill? Are you surprised to learn you shouldn’t automatically slow down when you see orange cones on the interstate? All ages can benefit from brushing up on their knowledge of the road!
Every day, more than 1,000 crashes that result in injury across the United States are attributed to distracted driving. Not only is it important to know the rules of the road irrespective of the conditions, it is important to eliminate as many distractions as possible.
The biggest culprit is the cell phone. Many people believe they can take calls, return text messages, and modify GPS settings while they’re behind the wheel. The truth is, driving while using a cell phone can be worse than drunk driving, so you should turn off your phone or leave it in the trunk of your car.
Other distractions to eliminate include:
- Don’t eat and drive
- Don’t do your hair or makeup
- Keep the volume low, especially in unfamiliar areas
- Teens should reduce the number of passengers in the car
- Pull over before dealing with children or pets
Safe Following Distance During Rain
It’s a good rule of thumb to keep a three-second stopping distance between you and the car ahead of you. However, that recommendation is only for perfect driving conditions.
When it’s raining, you need to increase your stopping time by at least an additional second. Slippery roads are a common cause of accidents on the road, and the last thing you want to do is rear-end the person in front of you.
Additional tips for driving in the rain include:
- Pull over and wait for the rain to pass if it’s raining hard
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated to help prevent hydroplaning
- Reduce your speed for the weather and the rest of traffic
Slow Down in the Snow
Winter driving is especially difficult for drivers. One of the best things you can do to help prevent accidents is simply to slow down.
Roads can be slippery, especially if they’re covered with ice, and blowing snow can reduce visibility. Slowing down provides you with the opportunity to stop when needed, instead of flying into the ditch or crashing into the person in front of you.
Additional winter driving tips include:
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly to increase traction
- Know if you have antilock brakes and how to use them in icy conditions
- If you slow down instead of stopping, you can continue your car’s momentum
- Avoid stopping when going up a hill
Use UV Accessories in Bright Sunlight
The perfect driving conditions often include plenty of sunlight. That is unless you’re driving into the sunrise or the sunset, the glare and harsh rays of the sun can temporarily blind you, increasing the chances of an accident.
Prevent glare related problems in the car with the right accessories. UV sunglasses can help reduce the glare wherever you look, making them a good solution all day long. For problems during sunrise and sunset, a UV visor might be a better solution.
Driving in Illinois poses some unique challenges, but all thanks to the different weather conditions that are common throughout the year. Whether it’s raining, snowing, or the sun is deceiving you behind the wheel, these tips will ensure you remain comfortable, safe, and in control on the road all day long.