What To Do When Driving In Smoky Road Condition?
Smoky, icy, foggy, and wet roadways can be a disaster for drivers, even for the experienced ones because all these situations decrease the visibility. If you don’t use your defensive driving skills and fail to anticipate there are high possibilities of getting involved in a car accident. Well, driving at a slow speed must be the foremost step but one thing you must know is that driving slow will not be the only thing you would be needing to keep yourself and other road users safe. The smoky condition can turn out extremely dangerous not only for the car but also for you if necessary precautions are not taken on time.
Here, we are sharing a few essential pieces of advice on driving through a smoky road condition.
Keep The Headlights On
The basic reason for asking the driver to keep the headlights especially the fog lights or low beams on is to improve the visibility. If it is getting harder to see, put on the headlights and rear-lights to see what is on the road ahead. But another advantage is that it will make your vehicle visible amidst smoke, as well. The low beams are recommended because a high beam light can cause glare by reflecting off the smoke.
Do you have DRLs? You must turn these on manually. It will also keep the rear-lights turned on.
Do Not Switch Between Lanes
Where the visibility is significantly decreased, sticking to your lane will be a sensible decision. Switching between lanes too often will double the risk of getting hit by the car due to zero or less visibility. Try not to overtake the passing vehicle as patience will be your key to safe driving.
If you need to change the lane due to any emergency you must switch following the directions provided by the emergency services personnel. Do whatever they ask you to. Pay special attention given instructions.
Protect Your Health
The easiest way to protect yourself from the smoke is to either keep the mirrors up and windows closed or to turn the air circulation inside. By closing the windows, you will not be exposed to the smoke and ash directly. Covering the windows with woolen blankets is an effective alternative. Turning on the vehicle’s AC with internal air circulation will shut off the air vents keeping the smoke out of the cabin. The only aim must be to ensure that the dirty air isn’t funneled in.
Sensible Use Of Emergency Flashers
Regardless of your driving status and speed, either you are cruising or have pulled over, KEEP THE EMERGENCY LIGHTS ON. These emergency flashers will make sure that you are seen from the distance even in the decreased visibility, lowering the chances of a vehicle’s collision.
As we have mentioned earlier, driving slowly is an essential rule you must follow in smoky road conditions because you will be provided with a sufficient reaction time. Till now, over-speeding is known to be a chief reason for road accidents that take place in smoke-related collisions.
At a slow speed, the driver will be able to anticipate the hazard, take the necessary precautions, and plan a safe maneuver. It will help you keep a safe stopping distance with the vehicles ahead. Remember, you will not be the first person looking for a way out from the hazardously smoking zone, so along with slow cruising, you need to be extra vigilant of the frantic drivers.
Apart from emergency services vehicles and fire trucks, look out for the wildlife. Stay dynamically mindful of anything shiny or reflective; this might be another driver looking for help. Try not to brake too hard and making a sudden stop will cause a collision with the vehicle behind you.
Keep Your Mirrors And Windshield Clean
To maintain visibility, the drivers are encouraged to keep the mirrors and windshield clean. The ash and smoke can make them dirty hindering the view so keep using wipers and washer fluid abundantly.
Be Aware Of The Overheated Engines And Brakes
It goes without saying but driving amidst fire and smoke can cause your motor equipment to get overheated. Keep a watch on the engine temperature and if you feel like it's burning, pull over the car right away and wait till the engine cools down. Before continuing your drive, re-check the brakes and tires if they are in a good condition. Adding to your knowledge the overheated brakes give off a pungent smell so it would not be a difficult job to identify. If your vehicle looks spoiled, call the emergency helpline and wait for help.
Pull Over And Stop
Driving in zero visibility is strictly prohibited.
If you are in a situation where you cannot see a bit of the road ahead or the ongoing traffic because of the dense smoke, pull over and stop carefully. While moving away, make sure you have your indicators and emergency lights turned on and choose a safe spot, not a freeway or crowded routes. If pulling over will increase the chances of getting in direct exposure to the fire, you need to keep driving but do not forget to sketch your safety and escape plan.
Take away tips
✓ Always keep additional water bottles with you for an unexpected use
✓ Keep a medicine box in your car for any sort of emergency
✓ Never forget to take safety masks to help you stay safe in smoky conditions
✓ Having a wool blanket in the car can be beneficial
✓ Do not drive on a dry grass
✓ Keep a reflective vest and a reflective duct tape
✓ Follow the road line markers to drive safely in decreased visibility
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