How To Navigate Through Road Hazards
A good driver is one that is carefully prepared for every eventuality. Most roads used today were built with fewer and slower cars in mind. However, our human population has since overwhelmed the existing road infrastructure. Whilst today’s vehicles are considerably safer than those of the past, we have exceeded our daily road mileage by 130%. Consequently, this has led to overcrowding on the roads, whilst more and more road hazards pop up as a result.
A total of one-third of all traffic fatalities occur when the driver crashes into trees, utility poles, or overturning. Whilst improvements have been made in the area of driver behavior and vehicle designs, the number of fatalities from road hazards have increased over the past two decades. No matter how experienced you may be, you must drive with extra alertness on smaller roads. We’ve listed down several road hazards and how to avoid them here. Don’t let your tires turn into tire debris.
Skidding or Hydroplaning
Skidding, or otherwise known as hydroplaning, usually occurs during rainy or icy weather when there is a lack of friction between the road and the car’s tires. To prevent this from happening, slow down to a safe speed that matches the flow of traffic. Keep ample distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Clear your windshield and windows free from fog, as you’ll want to have proper visibility in this weather. If you find yourself in such a situation, refrain from slamming on the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the gas, and gently steer your car towards a safe point. The most important thing is to not oversteer, as it can cause a rollover –– especially for top-heavy utility vehicles. Once you’ve regained control, brake if needed.
You Fall Into A Lake
Contrary to what you might think, the phenomenon of sinking cars is more common than it lets on –– an approximate 350 people every year from sinking vehicles in America. This happens when cars accidentally drive off quay-sides or into rivers, or their parking brakes do not work and cars roll down into lakes or rivers.
Drive defensively and safely when you’re approaching water bodies. Try to avoid flood-prone roads during heavy rains, and make detours if needed be. If you’re ever caught in such a predicament, the first thing to do is to release your seatbelt and open the windows. Remove any head restraints to ensure easy passage for your rear passengers, and use them to break open any side windows. The car will not sink immediately even if you have the windows open, so maintain your composure to free yourselves and your passengers as fast as possible.
Dealing With Children
Children can be a hassle to deal with…especially during stressful scenarios (such as driving), that require you to remain focused on the road. If your child wriggles out of his or her seatbelt and stands up at the back of the car, remain calm and tell him/her that it is not allowed. Pull over at the side of the road, and make sure the harness is snug enough so they can’t attempt it again.
When your child starts to throw a temper tantrum whilst you’re driving, it’s probably a sign that you need to entertain them or keep them engaged. If you’re riding with your spouse, get them to ride in the back alongside your child, and entertain them with soft toys, books, etc. If not, take a break from driving to accommodate their needs.
Lastly, if you happen to pass by an area with children playing about, drive slowly and be prepared to stop at any time. Unfortunately, children are unable to assess such situations carefully. They tend to be oblivious to the dangers of a moving vehicle, and could suddenly run across the street for no reason.
Your Car Gets Into A Collision
A traffic collision happens when two vehicles collide with each other and can result in injury, death, disability, and property damage to all parties involved. One way to reduce the risk of traffic collision is to drive defensively, and maintain your focus on the road. Refrain from eating, applying makeup, or browsing through your cell phone whilst driving. Avoid driving in a state of extreme fatigue or if you happen to be under the influence of alcohol. We recommend following a three-second rule when dealing with other drivers –– when the car in front of you passes by a stationary object, three seconds need to pass before your car passes the same object.
Your Vision Is Impaired
The prevalence of dense fog can be incredibly dangerous on the road, especially if combined with other extreme weather conditions. We recommend you avoid driving in foggy conditions as much as possible, but if you must travel, you should take extra precautions to prevent any accidents from happening. These include minimizing distractions, reducing speed, maintaining a safe distance from other cars, and turning off cruise control. Use roadside reflectors and the right edge of the road as a guide to navigate twists and turns, and drive with your windows down to look out for other vehicles.
Aside from fog or dense weather conditions, temporary blindness may occur when the driver stares directly into the headlights from an approaching car. To prevent this from happening, have regular eye checkups, and keep your spectacles or contact lens up-to-date. For older drivers, try to avoid night driving or drive slower if needed. If you happen to be blinded by accident, look down at the right side of the road or the edge of the lane until the vehicle passes you by.
Driving through areas with a high concentration of small animals can be dangerous to drivers. Drive slowly to stop if needed be, as you need to be extra careful when dealing with them. In the event where you are about to hit an animal, step on your brakes instead of swerving to avoid it –– you might end up colliding with a tree or oncoming vehicle.
Driving Through Construction Zones
Navigating construction zones can be a hassle for both drivers and pedestrians alike. We advise you to drive slowly and carefully through the construction site and adhere to the speed limits within this area. Keep a lookout for any machinery, vehicles, or construction workers around you. Be prepared to change lanes or brake at any moment.
Potholes can be incredibly hazardous for drivers who attempt to swerve around them and end up losing control of their vehicles. If you spot a pothole, slow down whilst keeping a firm grip on your vehicle. Once you’re ready, drive around the pothole instead of over it.
Beware Of Bicyclists
With both bicyclists and vehicle drivers sharing the same road, both riders and drivers will inevitably encounter traffic accidents with each other. if you spot a bicyclist near you, give them ample space and keep a lookout to avoid driving too close to them. It doesn’t hurt to take extra care around them, as bicyclists are much smaller and do not possess the same protection a car driver has.
Tires with too little air pressure are prone to blowouts. This occurs when the tire has flexed beyond its elastic limits to the point of overheating, hence causing the rubber to lose its grip on the steel cord reinforcement and internal fabric. If this happens to you, take immediate control of your vehicle by pulling it over to the side. Keep a record of trusted mechanics and tow trucks on your phone, and call them if necessary. Be mindful of road debris, and actively avoid it by switching between lanes. Remember to regularly maintain your tires by switching them out every five years of usage.
Road hazards happen when a passenger vehicle accidentally collides with a larger truck or top-heavy utility vehicle. When nearing a truck, refrain from staying near its sides, rear, and blind spots. Instead, position yourself where the truck can see you through its side mirrors. Larger vehicles need more time to merge into traffic, so be prepared to slow down and give the driver more time to accelerate to a normal speed. Trucks usually swing wide to the left to make right turns, so you should never cut in between trucks, or from the shoulder to the right.
Being a driver comes with a great deal of responsibility. For each time you start your vehicle, you’re risking the lives of yourself and your passengers. We advise all drivers to take extra precautions when driving to avoid dangerous road hazards –– who knows? You can never be too careful.