Driving Tips

Many are familiar with the catchy tune, “Singing in The Rain” by Gene Kelly.  If you have seen a clip of the movie then you have an understanding of the sheer joy being in the rain can bring. However, when we are driving, the rain is not something to sing about   In addition to rain, fog can be dangerous to drive in too.  Therefore, it is important to know how to stay safe when driving in the rain and fog.

Before delving into tips on driving safely in the rain and the fog, it is important to understand the dangers of driving in these conditions. When it rains, for example, for the first 10 minutes, the road becomes slick as the water mixes with oil on the road.  This can increase the potential of your tires slipping and sliding around on the road, which can lead to accidents.  In addition, the reduced visibility rain and fog can cause may lead to potential accidents because you simply cannot see what is around you as well as in clear conditions.  Moreover, sometimes you just cannot control other people’s actions in bad weather.  Some drive erratically in these conditions, as they may be unfamiliar with the area or unprepared to drive in such conditions.  The combination slick roads, reduced visibility, and actions of others can make driving in the rain or fog a precarious measure at best.

According to the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, rain and fog can have several negative operational impacts including:

  • Vehicle performance (e.g., traction)
  • Driver capabilities/behavior
  • Road treatment strategy
  • Traffic signal timing
  • Speed limit control
  • Evacuation decision support
  • Institutional coordination
  • Driver capabilities/behavior
  • Road treatment strategy
  • Access control
  • Speed limit control

Given the severity of dangers and operational impacts that driving in rain and fog can have, below are some tips on how to drive in those conditions safely if you are caught out in them or have no other recourse.

Tips for Driving in the Rain

  • Slow down
  • Stay toward the middle lanes
  • Maintain proper following distance (3 Second Rule)
  • Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you
  • Don’t follow large trucks or busses too closely
  • Be more alert when driving in wet or slippery conditions
  • Avoid using your brakes; instead, if possible, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down.
  • Turn your headlights on even in a light rain, or in gloomy, foggy or overcast conditions
  • Never drive beyond the limits of visibility
  • When driving through a puddle of uncertain depth, go slow
  • If possible, stay off the road during heavy thunderstorms

Tips for Divining in the Fog

  • Slow down
  • Use low-beam headlights. High beam headlights can reflect off the fog making visibility worse
  • Use fog lights
  • Use the right-side pavement line as a guide
  • Do not stop on the road

Singing in the rain is fun and safe.  Driving in the rain and fog is dangerous.  The conditions can affect decision-making and operational perspectives.  The best option in the more severe situations is to stay off the road.  However, when you cannot, it is best to adhere to a strict set of rules laid out in this article.  If possible pull over onto the shoulder or under an overpass and wait out the bad weather.  Therefore is essential to be prepared ahead of time and know before you go what to do.  This way when you are caught driving in the rain or fog, you can ensure you are as safe as possible.

André Bélanger, a graduate of Loyola University, is a highly-respected criminal defense attorney serving the people of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and surrounding areas of Ascension Parish and New Orleans, for one of Baton Rouge’s top-25 law firms. In his 18 years of practicing law, Mr. Bélanger has handled thousands of criminal cases at both the pre-trial and trial stage, including approximately 200 trials. This trial experience includes homicide defense and prosecution, large drug conspiracies and fraud cases making Bélanger one of the few attorneys capable of handling even the largest, most complex federal cases. Having spent years devoted to developing a top-tier regional law practice for federal court and state court litigation, Mr. Bélanger is admitted to practicing law in all federal courts in both Louisiana, Mississippi, the United States Supreme Court and the U. S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. A strong commitment to the justice system, Mr. Bélanger has begun to forge his trial skills in the criminal courtroom in an effort to establish his own personal injury trial practice. T