Bad weather is a fact of life when travelling. However, if you plan your trip, check the tire pressure, buckle up, drive safely, use low-beams in fog, keep the radio on, and pull over when you’re sleepy, you can have a safer and more pleasant trip with fewer concerns.
It is best not to lock yourself into a specific date or time for departure. When bad weather has the potential for becoming extreme, it is best to put off the start of your trip for a few hours or even a few days if necessary, to let the weather pass through. It is never a good idea to start a journey when you know the weather could get ugly.
When driving in the rain, snow, sleet, ice, high winds, and fog, it is essential to have a mechanically safe car. These pointers apply to all drivers, whether you have a new car or a safer old car. In many cases, a well-maintained older car is much more reliable than a new car because you are familiar with how it functions. You’re like old friends, even on new roads.
Travelling around Australia when drastic droughts and heatwaves, or potent cyclones with flash flooding are in the forecast could be perilous. Australia typically has only 12 or 13 severe cyclones annually, so putting off your trip until you are sure of the storm’s severity makes good sense.
Although Australia has many possible climate conditions, getting caught in the “outback” due to mechanical failure could be fatal. At times, the temperature reaches 50°C and don’t wait for the rain to cool things down. It could be months or years out there without rain. Be sure to have several days’ worth of water for each passenger. Actually, planning for unforeseen mishaps should be one of the first things on your agenda.
Plan Your Trip
Even when you have no plans to visit the bush or desert, keep enough water onboard for each passenger. Even a breakdown in fair weather can last hours or days depending on expected traffic along that road. Extra food and blankets should also be on your packing list.
June to August in Australia’s south can reach frigid temperatures. Even in September, the nights can get down to 6 or 7°C, so having a few blankets would be wise. Bad weather can extend your travelling times, so make sure you add more travel time. Your stress levels will rise if you get delayed and did not build in some extra time for bad weather delays. If the storm gets severe, get inside. There’s a better chance you will arrive alive than to push on and get hospitalised.
Stay open to taking an alternate route if it will be safer to travel that way even when it takes a little longer. You should also take along maps even if you have a GPS. It might not work correctly in bad weather.
Keeping your tire pressure at the manufacturer’s suggested level is the safest for travelling. Do not listen to the myths about less or more pressure in the tires provides better traction. What’s more, incorrect tire pressure can affect your vehicle’s handling and fuel mileage. Too much pressure can even cause premature wear and tire damage.
Make sure everyone buckles up before you begin and after every stop. It might get uncomfortable to stay buckled up on a long trip, but accidents can happen anywhere. Furthermore, they are more likely to occur when travelling in bad weather. So, stay buckled up to decrease the likelihood of injury.
Leave a Safe Distance Upfront
The experts recommend a longer distance to pull up in bad weather. Long trips and fatigue can dull your senses, which will slow your reaction time. Also, the weather will affect road conditions, which will influence your braking distance.
So, although you should leave a two or three-second gap between you and the car upfront, in bad weather open that distance a little more.
Use Low-Beams for Fog
Turn on your light in fog even in the daylight, but use the low beams. Low beams will not reflect off the wall of fog as high beams do. Using your headlights during the day will allow other drivers to spot you sooner. Once again — open up that following distance.
Stay as close as possible to the side of the road, and watch for other drivers, pedestrians, and traffic lights that you might not see until you right on top of these. Most importantly — slow down.
Keep the Radio On
Keeping your radio tuned in to a local news station might give you an advanced warning about worsening weather conditions, floods, or closed roads.
Pull Over When Sleepy
Never consider pulling over to rest your eyes as wasted time. Pull completely off the road into a rest area if possible, but don’t put off pulling over while you drive too far to find a spot. Make sure the place you choose to pull over is safe. In conclusion, remember the better you plan for a trip, the more enjoyable it will be for you and your family.