In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Environment Canada has been forecasting some very nasty weather over the next few days. High winds and heavy rain will make driving more dangerous than it already is.
How should motorists handle these conditions?
First, if you do not need to drive, stay home. In any weather advisory, if staying put is an option, many times that is the smart thing to do. Whether it is heavy rain, high winds, icy roads, deep snow or any other extreme conditions Mother Nature deals up, stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. No trip is worth your life.
Drive with your full head light system on. Don’t rely on just your Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) as they do not illuminate your rear lights. It is important in all the spray to be seen by other motorists and truckers. Visibility is often limited in these conditions and it is important to been seen. Turning on your full headlight system is best even in midday in poor weather conditions.
Slow down on wet roads. When a road is simply wet its coefficient of friction (level of grip) is cut in half compared to a dry road. That means braking distances will be twice as long and steering grip will be deduced to half. When there is any standing water, that level of grip drops off even more. In heavy rain, the danger of hydroplaning increases with the rate of rainfall and the age or wear of your tires. Less tread depth equals easier hydroplaning. Slow down. Did I mention the “slow down” part?
Stay off of flooded roads. Many times we see motorists trying to navigate flooded roadways on the six o’clock news and many times it doesn’t have a happy ending. It may look fun and it may be that challenge you’ve been looking for, but you never know what lurks under that murky water. The road could be washed out or a manhole may have blown off with the hydraulic pressure leaving a large hole for your vehicle to fall into or damage suspension parts or wheels. With modern cars running on expensive electronics and computer management equipment, any water damage could be very costly. It’s just not worth it. Find an alternate route for your own safety and savings. Even the largest road warrior SUV or pickup truck is no match for Mother Nature.
In high winds it is important to keep both hands on the wheel and your brain focused on the task of driving. All vehicles will tend to wander more in high winds. The faster your rate of travel, the more pronounced the wander will be. Slow down.
Watch for fallen trees and stay clear of downed wires. Should any overhead wires fall on your vehicle, never get out. Wait inside for emergency personnel to identify what type of wires are on or near your vehicle and verify the power is off should they be hydro wires. Keep an eye open for debris that will be blown onto roads by high winds. This could range from leaves making the road slippery to larger objects that can cause damage to your vehicle or loss of control.
Staying at home in severe conditions will also help emergency personnel with any rescue efforts by keeping the roads clear. If your vehicle is stuck on a road somewhere, it may be blocking rescue or cleanup efforts.
Columns Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X