Important Information About Driving During Storms

Important Information About Driving During StormsIf you drive a car, it’s time to reevaluate whether it’s ready for certain winter conditions. Drivers who live in states that are hit hardest with snow are getting their cars and emergency kits ready for the following winter season. In Oklahoma, where we don’t get a lot of snow, drivers are preparing for different weather conditions like tornadoes and hailstorms.

Oklahoma is one of the states where tornadoes occur often, and residents should be aware of the most beneficial actions to take if they get stuck in a storm while driving. It could reduce the risk of a car accident.

What are the signs a tornado is coming?

The best action you can take when a driver is traveling through a storm is to know the warning signs that a tornado is approaching – after all, tornadoes can crop up as an effect of severe storms. Keeping aware of your surroundings is a necessity while driving; however, you should always remain aware of the changes in weather conditions, as well as the debris that could fly into your path.

Some of the warning signs of a tornado are the pattern of large hail and heavy rain, followed by a calm period and an abrupt wind shift; low rotating dark clouds; a deep rumbling that is reminiscent of a freight train; and swirling debris on the ground. In addition to remaining aware of the changing weather conditions, drivers can also take advantage of certain weather apps that disclose any potential warnings for upcoming storms.

How does the distance of a tornado impact a driver’s actions in a storm?

When a driver is near a tornado or driving in the midst of a tornado, the worst thing he or she can do is try to outrun it. To avoid collisions with any other vehicles or flying debris, drivers are advised to pull their cars over to the side of the road, duck below the windows, keep their seatbelts fastened, and cover their heads with a blanket or a cushion, or even a coat.

If the tornado is farther off into the distance, drivers should travel in the opposite direction of the storm and, if possible, seek shelter. If a shelter is too far from the driver’s location, drivers can also pull over, leave their vehicle, and take cover in a low ditch on the side of the road. Exiting the vehicle should only be a last course of action.

What you should know about driving in high winds

Tornadoes and thunderstorms have the potential to produce two types of winds. The first type is a side wind. Side winds are the most dangerous types of winds to drive against because these are the types of winds that can knock a motor vehicle off course or cause a truck to roll over. When a driver feels a side wind steering the vehicle in a different direction, the driver should steer the vehicle in the opposite direction to bring themselves back.

The next type of wind is a headwind. This is the type of wind that is not as dangerous as a side wind but still has the potential to affect a driver’s speed. When drivers find themselves battling against headwinds, drivers must adjust their acceleration slightly to compensate.

What to do if a hailstorm occurs while driving

In addition to strong winds, severe thunderstorms can produce hail the size of softballs that fall at 100 miles per hour. Because of the size and speed of the hail falling from the sky, chunks of hail have the potential to damage a driver’s windshields and produce serious dents in the vehicle. When drivers find themselves in the middle of a hailstorm, they are advised to pull over to the side of the road as safely as possible.

After pulling over, you should exit the vehicle and seek shelter under the closest sturdy structure you can find. Do not park underneath bridges or highway underpasses. Doing this can lead to a potential traffic jam, preventing other motorists from seeking shelter in a safe manner and blocking other emergency vehicles from passing through the area.

Reasons to reduce speed while driving through a storm in Tulsa

You should reduce your speed, even if it is lower than the posted limit when a storm is in the area. Reducing your speed helps you have more control of the vehicle and additional time to react to the changing weather conditions or traffic flow. In addition to the reduction in control and reaction time, the driver is more likely to cause a car accident while speeding through a storm.

Leave extra space when driving in inclement weather

Be sure to allow all motorists additional space on the road, but especially those in large trucks or commercial vehicles. During these types of weather conditions, commercial truck drivers in particular have a more difficult time maintaining control of their vehicles. The intense winds can cause trucks to slide or even lift up, if they’re not hauling any goods. Even worse, truck drivers may find themselves forced to suddenly switch lanes in an effort to avoid any debris in front of them or avoid a potential accident. This can cause a jack-knife, or even a rollover. Because of these types of conditions, motor vehicles should allow commercial truck drivers plenty of space to maneuver and react to the weather conditions as safely as possible.

Winter is right around the corner, and it’s important to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws our way. At Biby Law Firm, we have a strong track record of success helping clients who have sustained injuries in car accidents – even accidents related to poor weather. Call our Tulsa car accident attorneys at 918-574-8458 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.