Monday, March 5, 2018

Severe Weather Awareness Week: Driving tips

Anyone who has lived in Kansas long enough understands that severe weather can hit fast and it can be devastating. Damaging winds, large hail, flash floods and even tornadoes are common threats that we all know too well.  This week, The National Weather Service is focusing on Severe Weather Awareness Week. 

We wanted to take a moment to share some severe weather safety tips, If you must drive through storms, these tips could help you reach your destination destination safely.

Be Prepared:
The bottom line when driving during severe weather is to be prepared for anything. Before you travel check the weather forecast of your entire route.

If you see darkening skies tune into a local radio station or have your passengers look up the weather on their devices.

Driving in Rain:

Wipers on. Headlights on: This is Kansas law. Protect yourself and others around you. Headlights help increase the chances that you will be seen by other drivers.

Turn on Wipers and Keep Windows Clear: This may be a no-brainer, but a surprising number of people drive with windshield wipers that aren’t at their peak performance. It is suggested to get them replaced every 6-12 months. Use your de-frost function or air conditioner to keep your windows clear of fog.

Be Patient:  Take it slower than usual and give extra room to the drivers around you. Wet roads could cause your vehicle to hydroplane or lose traction.

Turn Around Don’t Drown: During severe weather, flash floods may occur. Never try to cross a flooded road way. The water may be deeper than you think and it is dangerous to try to drive over it. Find an alternate route. It only takes a few inches for the current to take you and your vehicle for an unwanted ride.  Abandon your vehicle if it stalls and seek higher ground.

Turn off Cruise Control:  Road conditions during severe weather are inconsistent. You need to be in control, not your vehicle. 

This is a photo that has been circulating social media.
It demonstrates how important it is to use your headlights.
Looking at this picture, you can hardly see the vehicle
approaching the driver., who also shouldn't have been using
his camera while driving. 

Driving during a hailstorm:
Take shelter:  Don’t leave your vehicle unless you can get inside quickly. The hailstones could cause injury.  If you are near an underpass or bridge it is safe to wait out the hail.

Pull over:  if you are not near any shelter, stay in your vehicle and pull to side of the road.

Driving During High Winds:

Watch for Flying Debris: High winds can pick up items that become dangerous weapons if they should hit your or your vehicle.

Be prepared for wind gusts: If you drive a high profile vehicle such as an SUV, bus, or semi truck, you have a higher risk of being affected by high wind gusts. Consider not traveling in these vehicles if you can avoid it.

Driving During a Tornado

This one is easy: Don’t. Never try to outrun a tornado, and don’t drive during one either.  Get out of your car and find shelter. If none can be found, get below the road’s surface and cover your head. A ditch or low area is suggested. Be aware of the water level around you and be on the lookout for flash floods. Never seek shelter in an underpass.

In every weather situation it is best to buckle up - every trip, every time - and pay attention to your environment. 

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