HOW WEATHER CAN AFFECT ROAD CONDITIONS
There is an old saying, “Everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” While we may not be able to change the weather, we can have a better understanding regarding how certain weather events can affect road conditions. This knowledge allows us to be better prepared to stay safe while driving.
Here are a few weather events that can affect road conditions more than you may think.
Most people do not consider rain an issue unless there is a torrential downpour. However, rain has a great effect on the road surface and driving conditions. The simple fact is that even a light rain can greatly impact road conditions. For example, a light rain dampens the road, when the oil on the road surface is combined with the rain the roads become slippery making it easier to lose control of your car. Additionally, rain will also reduce visibility thus making it more difficult to see obstacles in the road that could pose a risk to your safety.
Although it may not be snowing when you begin your travels, previous snow on the road can create a glare effecting your ability clearly. In more extreme conditions, snow and snow drifts can cover the road edges and center lines making it difficult to tell where the road and proper lane begin and end. When it is snowing visibility decreases and gets worse as you travel at higher speeds. If a wind is added to the equation, you can be faced with blizzard conditions that make visibility beyond a few feet impossible.
Rain, hail, sleet, and melting snow followed by falling temperatures can result in ice quickly forming on roads, bridges and over passes. While driving on ice always poses a danger to drivers, black ice (invisible ice) can catch a driver unaware and result in the loss of control of your vehicle.
While fog does not directly affect the condition of the road, it does limit visibility for the driver. A thick fog will make it difficult to see other vehicles, animals and other road hazards while driving. Also, use the low beam for your headlights. If you have fog lights use them. Bright lights will reflect off the water fragments in the mist and decrease your visibility even more. Fog will increase the risk of accidents, so drive safe and slow and do not use your bright light beams.
Even on bright, clear, sunny days high winds can affect driving conditions. Winds blow snow and dirt across the road which may affect driving conditions. High winds have been known to blow other hazardous objects, like, garbage cans, children’s toys, tree limbs and even whole trees into the road, which can surprise a driver if not paying close attention.
Planning a road trip for recreation or business it will always be beneficial to know the weather conditions along your route. This will help you prepare ahead of time for any, and all, weather conditions.
The Drive Weather App is a handy tool to help keep you apprised of the current weather and road conditions along your route. The app also has a slider that allows you to experiment with different departure times to see if the weather conditions improve for traveling.