How to stay safe on the roads in bad weather

GLENDALE – The 2022 monsoon has officially arrived and that means blowing dust, intense storms and flooding will make driving conditions hazardous on some days across Arizona.

For those unaccustomed to extreme weather conditions, a driving school in the valley uses modern technology to teach learner drivers how to stay safe while driving in stormy conditions.

When storms hit the valley, drivers tend to freeze on our highways, making Glendale’s Driving MBA on-site training simulators an important form of training. Students can make their mistakes there virtually, according to program director Kathleen Ryan.

“If we can train them here, where they can make those mistakes, so we can replay them, we can learn from them and they can learn to make those adjustments to stay safe.”

Driving MBA offers virtual training at its Glendale and Scottsdale locations.

Although most customers are high school students, Driving MBA also offers courses for foreigners moving to the United States, senior citizens, and defensive driving courses used by ADOT and local police departments.

Prepare your car for the monsoon

The Arizona Department of Transportation offers extensive driving tips for storms and extreme weather.

General tips:

  • Expect the unexpected. Have extra supplies, including a fully charged cell phone, drinking water, and an emergency kit in case the highway is closed for an extended period.
  • If in doubt, wait! If you see a dust storm or heavy rain coming, it’s best to go outside and wait for the storm to move through the area. Go to a safe area as far from the roadway as possible.
  • When faced with low or no visibility conditions, pull your vehicle off the road as far to the right as possible. Turn off your lights, set the parking brake and take your foot off the brake pedal. These steps reduce the chances of other drivers mistaking your vehicle for the one to follow.
  • Don’t risk crossing a flooded wash, even if it doesn’t look deep. Water is a powerful force that should not be underestimated. Even a few inches of running water pose a serious risk.
  • Do not bypass “Road Closed” signs. You are risking your life and your face to be cited under the state’s stupid motorist law.
  • If traffic lights are off, treat an intersection as a four-way stop.
  • Storm runoff can loosen rocks and boulders on slopes above highways. Stay alert in areas prone to rockfall.

During the rain:

  • Before driving, inspect your windshield wipers and replace them if necessary.
  • Turn on your headlights while driving.
  • Reduce your speed and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you; create a “space cushion”.
  • Avoid hard braking, which can cause you to slip on wet pavement. To slow down, take your foot off the accelerator pedal and brake slowly.
  • Avoid areas where water collects in traffic lanes; if possible, use the central lanes and ride in the lanes of the vehicle in front of you.
  • The tires of larger vehicles, such as trucks and buses, create spray that can reduce visibility, so don’t follow them too closely.
  • Watch out for hydroplaning. This happens when a thin layer of water builds up between your tires and the asphalt and your vehicle loses contact with the road. You might suddenly feel your vehicle slipping or drifting because you’ve lost traction. If you feel like you are hydroplaning, release your foot from the accelerator pedal until you regain traction. Do not brake suddenly. If you slip or drift, gently turn your steering wheel in the direction of your slip.

During dust storms:

  • Immediately check the traffic around your vehicle (front, back and to the sides) and start slowing down.
  • Don’t wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to leave the roadway safely – do it as soon as possible. Get off the freeway completely if you can.
  • Do not stop in a traffic lane or in the emergency lane. Look for a safe place to completely exit the paved portion of the roadway.
  • Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers. You don’t want other vehicles approaching from behind using your lights as a guide, risking crashing into your parked vehicle.
  • Apply your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
  • Stay in the vehicle with your seat belts fastened and wait for the storm to pass.
  • Drivers of prestigious vehicles should pay particular attention to changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.

During hot weather:

  • Plan your travel itinerary in advance.
  • Let someone know your route, destination and expected time of arrival.
  • Fill your fuel tank and try to keep it three-quarters full. Running out of gas – especially in a remote location – is extremely dangerous in extreme heat.
  • Heat can zap your battery. Make sure your battery is up to snuff and has enough fluid in it. Consider having him tested, especially if he is three years old or older. Replace it if necessary.
  • Check coolant levels and top up if necessary. If the coolant needs to be flushed and replaced, do so before you start your trip. Note: Never remove the radiator cap when your engine is hot!
  • Top up vital engine fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid.
  • The combination of under-inflated tires and hot pavement can lead to a blowout. Check your tire pressure. It should be at the level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Make sure your vehicle’s air conditioning system is working properly.

About Jefferey G. Cannon

Check Also

Severe weather possible for New York State

We are still six days away from the official start of summer, but the weather …