Tips for Driving in Alabama with Bad Weather
Alabama is one of the most beautiful states in the country. And driving through the serene southern landscape makes for a pretty unforgettable experience.
Unfortunately, Alabama is prone to very extreme weather. This includes major storms in the spring and winter months and even the occasional threat of tornadoes and hurricanes.
But bad weather doesn’t mean you need to avoid the roads. Instead, follow these simple tips for driving in Alabama’s severe weather!
Avoid Using Cruise Control
During long drives, cruise control is a real game-changer. When you have a long stretch of highway or freeway ahead of you, it’s great to lock in your speed, kick back, and listen to some toe-tapping music.
But when you’re driving through extreme weather, it’s important to turn cruise control off right away. That’s because you may need to make quick adjustments to your speed for the safety of you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.
If you keep cruise control on, it’s very easy to lose control of the vehicle. This is particularly true during the winter if you should end up driving over icy roads, bridges, or overpasses.
Top Things Off
Most of the time, drivers don’t plan to drive through extreme weather. Instead, the weather ends up being an unwanted surprise. But you can still take a few easy steps to make sure you are prepared for the drive.
For instance, we recommend keeping your car at least half-full of gas at all times. And make sure that your antifreeze levels are normal and that you top your windshield wiper fluid levels off.
That last tip is more important than you might think. Most wrecks during Alabama severe weather are caused by low visibility. By topping off those fluids and getting a solution that can handle freezing conditions, you can more easily maintain your field of vision while driving.
Watch the News During the Winter
Earlier, we noted that Alabama’s severe weather often catches drivers by surprise. But that doesn’t have to be the case during the wintertime!
Winter storms usually offer a few days of warning. In this sense, they are very different from the thunderstorms and tornadoes that can unexpectedly pop up during the spring. So by keeping your eyes glued to local news during winter, you can learn everything you need to know about those seasonal storms in advance.
Getting advanced weather warnings will help keep you safe as you drive throughout the state of Alabama. But it will also let you do things like stock up on food and refuel your car before the general public begins panicking about the weather.
And remember, it never hurts to have Roadside Assistance when you’re worried about the weather!
Careful On Bridges and Overpasses
When driving during the winter, it’s always important to be cautious on the road. But you need to be especially careful when you’re moving across bridges and overpasses.
That’s because these areas tend to develop black ice sooner than the road does. And the ice may take you by surprise when you are driving and quickly send your car flying out of control.
Our recommendation is to take things slow and cautious when driving over bridges and overpasses. And if you can avoid tapping your brakes while you cross, you can seriously minimize the risks of black ice.
Avoid Water-Covered Areas
If you’re new to the state, here’s some fair warning: Alabama sees a lot of rainfall throughout the year. This ranges from gentle evening rain to raging afternoon thunderstorms.
When driving throughout the state, you may eventually encounter areas of the road that are completely covered in water. Whatever you do, don’t drive through these areas!
If you drive through standing water, several bad things may happen in very short order. It’s possible that the water will sweep your vehicle off the road. It’s also possible that you’ll be unexpectedly stopped in place!
And if nothing else, driving through standing water increases the risk of that water getting into your engine. This can kill your engine, and repairing it or replacing it will be very expensive.
Just avoid that standing water, and you won’t have to worry about any of this!
Treat Water Like Ice
Most drivers drive differently when the roads are icy. But if you want an all-encompassing safety tip for driving in Alabama, we recommend treating all wet roads as icy roads.
Why? It’s because the roads gradually gather oil every day from all the vehicles driving back and forth. When it rains (especially when it first begins raining), all of that oil starts to combine with the rain.
This creates a very slick surface that is shockingly similar to driving on icy surfaces. If you go ahead and drive on wet roads as if they are covered in ice, you’ll be that much safer when driving through Alabama’s severe weather.
Final Safety Tips
By now, you’ve probably figured out that simple tips are often the most effective tips. And when it comes to driving through severe weather in Alabama, our final tips are just as effective as they are straightforward.
First of all, you need to put extra distance between yourself and other vehicles on the road. Because storms and bad weather can reduce visibility, the cars in front of you may not know they need to stop until the last minute. By keeping a long distance from these vehicles, you can avoid the chances of accidentally hitting them.
Second, you need to apply the brakes sooner than usual. How much sooner? In typical weather, you can expect a car traveling at 30 miles per hour to stop in about 75 feet. But if the roads are wet or icy enough, it may take that same vehicle up to 750 feet to stop.
By getting in the habit of applying brakes sooner during severe weather, you can keep yourself and others on the road safe and secure. And don’t forget to prepare for the risk of other drivers with a good car insurance plan.
Car Insurance in Alabama
Now you know how to drive through severe weather in Alabama safely. But do you know where to get the insurance coverage you need?