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Driving In Inclement Weather

May 6, 2008
If you have lived in North Carolina for at least one year, then you have been here long enough to know how crazy the weather can be. One minute it can be sunny and warm outside and within minutes, it can suddenly become overcast with torrential downpours and hail to boot. North Carolina drivers are notorious for not knowing how to drive in inclement weather. If you don't believe me, the next time it rains really hard or begins to snow, as you drive along the roadways, count the number of people who are pulled over to the sides of the roads. While there is a certain amount of caution that must be exercised, people take it to either extreme; either they don't drive at all or they drive too fast. So, what do you do if the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse?

Don't Panic

All of us are familiar with the Emergency Broadcast System. You know, it's that system where you'll be watching a program on the television or listening to the radio and suddenly, you'll hear a series of beeps that alert you to let you know that an important message is about to be broadcast. Usually, it's just a "test" of the system. However, there have been some times when there has been an actual broadcast. For instance, if there is a tornado warning, you will typically hear the beeps. If you happen to be on the road when the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse, it is important not to panic. There is a reason that we are told not to panic. Panicking causes people to lose focus of the things that they should be focusing on. They become irrational and as a result, can't make reasonable, rational decisions, which are critical at that point.

Create Safety if You Can't Get to Safety

If you are in the middle of a highway with no cover and there is a torrential downpour where even the windshield wipers aren't even helping to alleviate the rain on your windshield, then safely pull over to the side of the road until you feel comfortable enough to drive again. Whether the rain is heavy outside or not, it is illegal NOT to have your headlights on when it is raining. Putting your lights on is a safety precaution. It allows other drivers to see you behind them as well as in front of them so that accidents can be avoided, so TURN YOUR LIGHTS ON! As a general rule, anytime your windshield wipers are on, even if they are turned to the "intermittent" setting, your headlights MUST be turned on.

We cannot control the weather. What we can control, however, is how we react in it. By taking such precautions as not panicking, turning our windshield wipers and head lights on, we are erring on the side of caution. And let's face it, you can never be too cautious when it comes to your safety behind the wheel.
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