On average over 5,000 people are killed annually in over a million crashes caused by dangerous road weather conditions in the United States.
Most of them are caused by rain and the consequence of rain: wet pavements.
About a fourth of accidents are caused by snow and ice, and about 10% of the fatalities occur in foggy weather conditions.
It is thus important to know how to react and adapt to these potentially dangerous road weather conditions.
One of the most common road weather conditions that you will encounter which can introduce safety issues is rain.
The intensity of rain can differ a lot: from a light drizzle to a full-on downpour and everything in between.
Light rain usually doesn’t cause many safety risks, but when it has been raining for a long period, there can be a layer of water on the road surface.
If there is such a layer, there is a risk of aquaplaning.
This means that the tires will slide over the water, the tires will lose grip and the driver will have more difficulties controlling the car.
The best advice to regain traction is to let loose of the gas pedal and thus lower your speed, and preferably don’t steer.
If you want a deeper look into aqua/hydroplaning, take a look at this article: How Hydroplaning Works.
Thunderstorms are of a different calibre, they can come with high-intensity precipitation and even hail.
Thunderstorms are local and they don’t tend to last long. You can recognize them by their dark clouds, occasional lightning and a haze, this haze indicates precipitation.
If this haze is dark, the rain will be present, if it is more whitish, you may encounter hail.
When driving in heavy rain, lower your speed and keep enough distance to the vehicle in front of you.
In the case of severe hail, pull over and stay in the car, even though your windshield may break, the hail will not be able to hurt you.
Ideally, you could park under an overpass, to save your car too.
If you’re driving on the highway, you will probably drive into the storm, instead of the storm moving into you, because storms generally travel slower than a car.
So keep an eye out in the direction you’re travelling for any storms.
But the easiest thing to do to know if you will encounter thunderstorms on your route is to check the radar in the Weather on the Way app.
Driving on snow-covered or icy roads isn’t a pleasure for most people.
The first and most important piece of advice is to just not travel in these conditions if you don’t need to.
You can take a look at the weather warnings on your route with the Weather on the Way app.
If you do need to travel, it would be a great benefit to have winter tires installed or have access to snow chains.
With snow and ice, the main danger is the potential to lose grip.
Don’t drive too fast and steer gently to prevent slipping.
Especially if there fell a lot of fresh snow recently, some roads will not be ploughed yet, which can cause another problem: risk getting stuck.
Having a snow shovel with you would be a great help in such a case.
Learn more about the grip of your tires in snowy conditions:
Fog can be especially dangerous if the visibility is dynamically changing.
The big risk here is that you drive into a suddenly appearing fog bank, which reduces your sight immensely.
This has caused and is remaining to cause most of the deadliest pile-ups. In foggy conditions:
Read more about the worst pile-ups in history here: Largest Traffic Accident Pile-Ups In History.