The Dangers of Driving in Low Visibility Environments

Dangers Driving in Low VisibilityIn April, General Motors recalled more than 680,000 SUVs after a windshield wiper defect was discovered. Manufacturers are concerned that the windshield wipers could possibly fall from the ball joints wearing away.

The vehicle models that are currently recalled are the 2014 to 2015 model year Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles. The company has plans to replace the front windshield modules in the recalled vehicles.

Given some of the past recalls we have seen from GM and other manufacturers – for exploding Takata airbags, for faulty ignition switches, even for the risk of potential car fires – a faulty windshield wiper blade may not seem like a life-or-death problem. But the recent General Motors recall reminds us how dangerous it is to drive in low visibility. A broken wiper can easily lead to an accident if a driver is caught unaware while traveling in rain, sleet, or snow.

How to drive safely in areas with low visibility

Every driver knows that certain conditions require them to adjust their driving and take extra precautions. Unfortunately, there are certain weather conditions that make it difficult for drivers to see. Conditions like fog, snow, and heavy rain can reduce the visibility significantly and increase the chances of a traffic accident happening. Traveling at night is also a time where visibility is significantly reduced for drivers.

Whether you are driving in the rain, snow, high winds, or at night, here are some actions that you can take to drive safely in areas with low visibility:

Make sure that your windows remain clear

When traveling in low visibility areas, it is important to make sure that your windows remain clear of any debris. In specific conditions like fog and ice, you may have to use your windshield wiper fluid to keep your windows clear. When starting your car before driving in the ice or snow, make sure that the car is properly warmed up and all ice is removed from the windows.

Reduce your speed

Another important action to take is to reduce your speed. Conditions like fog can trick drivers into thinking that they are traveling at a slow speed when they are actually speeding. Reducing your speed also allows additional time for you to stop in case you or the other drivers lose traction on the road.

Turn on your low beam headlights

Turning on your low beam headlights can help increase visibility and make you more noticeable to other drivers. When driving around nighttime in the snow, for example, using your low beam headlights helps you see better. You also want to avoid using high beam headlights, as the glare from the high beams can make it hard to see the reflection of the snow.

Turn on your fog lights

If possible, turn on your fog lights when traveling through the fog. Like the snow, you want to avoid turning your high beam headlights on in the fog. Like low beam headlights, fog lights will provide the right amount of illumination while reducing the possibility of causing a reflection in the fog or snow.

Remain alert for other drivers

While in a low visibility area, make sure to stay on the lookout for other drivers, especially drivers who do not have any headlights on. The last thing that you want to do is strike another driver because you failed to see or hear them. You may want to turn off your radio, too, to make it easier to hear other vehicles.

Brake slowly

It may be difficult for the drivers behind you to notice your brake lights through various conditions. Braking slowly will give the drivers behind you additional time to react.

Avoid distractions

Because the flow of traffic and the conditions of the road are changing, taking your eye off of the road for even a second can easily lead to an accident. Avoid common distractions like using your cell phone and eating while behind the wheel.

Never stop in travel lanes

Depending on the circumstances, you may have to pull over to the side of the road and wait until it becomes more visible to continue driving. One of the most dangerous actions you can take is stopping or parking in a travel lane. This can increase the chances of a traffic accident with other drivers. Pull over and put your hazard lights on to make yourself more visible.

Having the right Maryland car accident attorney by your side after suffering a serious car accident can make all the difference. If you or a loved one are seeking compensation for your injuries, call us today at 410-730-7737 or complete our contact form. We have offices throughout the state of Maryland. The initial consultation is free.