Colorado's Wary Weather
Colorado's seasons come with their own weather hazards to be wary of. Whether the season brings rain, snow, fog, or heat, they can all have massive effects on your car and safety while driving. How do you make sure you drive safely for each of these issues? Mattering on the weather, you can prepare yourself to conquer the conditions before you even begin your drive. However, knowing the conditions and what they bring with them is the ultimate tool to staying safe.
An uncommon thought when it comes to road hazards and safe driving. Heat can be just as dangerous as snow and ice. The extreme heat can cause a toll on your vehicle. According to the Deleware Department of Transportation heat is the most common battery killer, not the cold! Your battery isn't the only part of your car that could be damaged from the heat. Belts and hoses often blister or crack due to the heat.
The heat can also create dangerous road conditions. Due to the expansion of asphalt in the heat the road can crack, chip, or even buckle! A buckled road can turn a flat street into a ramped nightmare.
Often thought of as the most dangerous weather to be driving in, a snowstorm brings multiple hazards into play at once. Obscuring the vision of the driver has often been the cause of crashes. Combined with the loss of traction, snowstorms create an increased risk for multiple car pileups. Most people suggest waiting for the weather out and not driving in weather, however, winter also comes with black ice. One of the most worrisome road hazards often appears when you least expect it. The layer of ice that forms over the asphalt, creating a shine on the road, is often mistaken for water or another liquid. While those hazards are still dangerous, the slickness of black ice has developed a reputation as one of the most dangerous road hazards.
So how do you protect yourself against snow and ice road hazards? As with any hazard that forces a loss of traction, decelerating without braking or "pumping" the brakes if your vehicle doesn't have anti-lock brakes is often recommended. Be cautious and plan ahead, clear ice and snow from your vehicle, use all-weather or snow tires.
Heavy rainfall is a common hazard for drivers, however, it can cause some more significant hazards. Rain can impair your sight while pooling water can cause you to lose traction or hydroplane. Aside from the common hazards created by rainfall, an increasingly common issue arising from rainfall is flooding. Flooding has become more prevalent in areas with vegetation loss due to previous fires. Floods aren't the only hazard that can come with heavy rainfall, lightning strikes are not only dangerous but can create substantial driving hazards due to striking trees or powerlines. It is recommended to stay indoors or in your car when you are stuck in lightning or thunderstorm.
How do you safely navigate or avoid these hazards? First and foremost stay in your car during lightning or thunderstorms unless you can get inside a building. Make sure not to touch any metal in the vehicle. If struck by lightning the car will help ground the electricity and protect you as long as you are not touching metal. If you are driving in a storm stay cautious, slow down, and keep all attention on the road, if you can't see the ground through the water you should not drive through the water. As well as be aware of downed trees, powerlines, or other hazards that could have been struck down.
A hazard that can appear quickly, fog can completely consume your field of view. This coupled with the ability for the fog to appear quickly, makes many transportation experts consider fog to be one of the most dangerous weather hazards for drivers. Limiting the vision of the driver is often one of the most dangerous things that can happen while driving. The overwhelming aspect of fog can be dealt with by slowing your speed. With a decrease in vision, your reaction time to oncoming obstacles is decreased. Aside from this make sure to keep your headlights on but don't turn on your high beams, these can reflect and decrease your visibility.