Driving in Hazardous Conditions

Driving in Hazardous Conditions

If you are in the Phoenix Valley this time of year, you may have noticed that we are getting quite a bit of rain very late into the summer. This is because the Sonoran Desert is the only desert in the world with two rainy seasons. The Chihuahuan Desert to the east of us only has rains during the summer, while the Mojave Desert to the west of us only has rains in the winter. Our desert, the Sonoran, however, receives rain from the storm systems that affect both the Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts, giving us a rainy season at the end of the summer – referred to as “Monsoon Season” – and another in the winter. For this reason, Arizonans ought to be extra prepared for the hazards storms can bring to the roads. Yet, because we mostly drive in clear conditions, Arizonans are among the worst prepared for driving in foul weather. Here are a few tips to refresh your memory about what to do when you are caught driving in a storm.

  • Slow down! In any condition where visibility is poor and conditions are unpredictable, the posted speed limit may be too fast
  • Remember that your vehicle will take more time to react in bad weather
  • Maintain adequate following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep your lights and windshield wipers in good operating condition
    • The headlights and taillights let other drivers know you are there when visibility is poor and a cracked or damaged windshield wiper does more to hinder your vision rather than help it.
  • Stay calm: do not swerve or slam on your brakes
  • Maintain control of your vehicle at all times.
  • Avoid waterlogged roadways.
    • That puddle may look shallow enough for you to pass through, but if it is not, your car will get stuck and your engine will flood, rendering your vehicle inoperable.
    • Besides the safety problems this causes, you will also have to pay a fine for breaking the “Stupid Motorist Law”: in Arizona, the law states that anyone who drives onto a public street or highway that is “temporarily covered by a rise in water level is liable for the expense of any emergency response that is required to remove the inoperable vehicle from the roadway.”
  • Be aware of flash floods and dust storms.
    • During Monsoon season, rain can fall at a rapid rate and cause flash flooding with little or no warning. This is because the ground is unable to absorb the high volume of water at a rate faster than it is falling.
    • Dust storms can also rise very quickly. The best thing to do in a dust storm is to pull completely off the roadway, not just to the shoulder, and turn your lights and engine off with your foot off the brake.
  • Be prepared for emergencies!
    • Carry an emergency safety kit, a spare tire and tools, water and food with you in your vehicle
  • In the instance of a mechanical breakdown or tire failure, remain calm and slow down while keeping the steering wheel as steady as possible while you get the vehicle to a safe area as far from traffic as possible
    • Remember to turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers of your intentions.
  • Keep your vehicle in proper running condition.
    • Many emergencies can be prevented by simply taking the time to maintain your vehicle.
  • Always wear your seatbelt and be patient and courteous.
    • Remember that everyone else is facing the same road conditions as you and that safety, rather than speed, should be priority

Premier Coach Works Auto & RV Body Shop is the leading expert on vehicle repair and maintenance in the Phoenix Valley. We would prefer it if you never had to experience an automobile accident; however, we know that accidents happen, so we make it our mission to provide every customer with an exceptional experience at a fair price. We also specialize in auto and RV maintenance – from tune-ups to paintjobs, Premier Coach Works can do it all.

The next time your vehicle is in need of maintenance or repair, give us a call at 623-935-6678 or contact us online for a free quote.