While most of us are confident driving in sunny weather, many of us feel less comfortable behind the wheel when the weather takes a turn. Driving in rain, snow, extreme heat, or fog can be challenging, but with a few simple tips and tricks, you can stay safe on the road no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.

Driving in Snow:

Driving in the snow can be hard for drivers that aren’t used to it. It takes an extra level of attention that takes time to master. It takes a long time to be comfortable in the snow, but these tips for driving in snow can help get you get there quicker:

Use chains

If your car is not 4-wheel drive, using chains while driving in snow is a must. Tire chains are metal links that attach to the tires and provide additional traction on icy or packed-snow roads. They typically come in two varieties: cross-chain and ladder-type. Cross-chain tire chains overlap the tread of the tire in a crisscross pattern, while ladder-type chains form a ladder shape along the length of the tire. Both types of chains help to increase traction, but cross-chains provide slightly more grip than ladder-type chains.

Do not use cruise control

It’s important to be able to hit the brakes quickly in the snow as it’s harder and takes more time. This means it’s important to not use cruise control in snowy weather to allow yourself adequate time to stop. 

Slow down

In any harsh weather‌ situation, slow down. Give yourself extra time to think, slow, and stop. Snow and ice make it harder for your vehicle to gain traction on the road, so extra stopping distance (distance between you and the car in front of you) is needed. 

Keep warm clothes in your car

Just in case you find yourself in the unfortunate position where your car breaks down, you get in an accident, or somehow end up stranded, it’s always a good idea to keep something warm to wear in your car. Getting help can take time, so it’s important to have an emergency kit/clothes in your car to make the process as painless and safe as possible. 

Keep your gas tank at 50%+

In the winter, it’s important to keep more gas in your car than you normally would. This is because gas lines can freeze in the cold weather, making it difficult to pump gas. If you have a half tank of gas or less, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up stranded if your gas line freezes. By keeping your tank at least half full, you’ll reduce the risk of being stranded and will be able to keep driving even if the temperature drops. So don’t forget to fill up your tank before heading out in the snow.

Driving in Fog:

Fog is one of the most dangerous driving weather conditions. You can go from clear visibility to almost no visibility in a matter of seconds. This puts you in danger of hitting another car, or not being visible to others on the road and getting hit yourself. Here are some safety tips to always keep in mind and practice when driving in the fog.

Avoid it

If you can avoid driving during foggy conditions, do it. Fog makes the road a much more dangerous place to be, so we would recommend all drivers (whether you’re experienced or new) to avoid fog if possible. 

Slow it down

Fog reduces your visibility, making it hard to see at a distance. Objects appear to you much closer than you would normally see them, reducing your ability to break in time. 

Use your fog lights

Your car should be equipped with rear fog lights that make it easier for the driver behind you to see you. If your car has front fog lights, use them as they have a color that creates less glare. If your car does not have fog lights in the front, only use the low beams in your vehicle. Make sure to avoid high beams, as they actually make it harder to see. 

Pull over if it gets so bad you cannot see

This may seem like common sense, but fog can turn from mild to severe in a matter of seconds. If that happens, do not try to drive through it. Do your best to find a place on the side of the road or a parking lot to pull off. Turn on your emergency lights and wait until the fog lifts to a safe visibility level.

Driving in a Storm:

Driving in a storm or in the rain can be a scary situation for even experienced drivers. There are many tips and tricks new drivers should know before hitting the road during a storm. Let’s take a look at them.

Only drive when you feel comfortable

If it’s raining so hard you can’t see correctly or you feel you will hydroplane then simply wait until the weather calms down.

Check your tires

If you know a storm is rolling in or you find yourself in one, check the tread on your tires. Rain and wetness make it harder to stop. If you’re driving on bald tires, it will only make it that much more difficult. Make sure you’re getting into a vehicle that will give you the best chance to stay safe. 

Slow and steady

When it rains, drivers simply need to slow down. Stopping is harder, seeing is harder, and your reactions are slower in a storm. Make sure you slow down to avoid an emergency or collision. 

Turn your lights on

When it’s raining, it’s not only smart to have your headlights on. It’s also the law in California. Having your headlights on will improve your visibility, but just as crucially, it will make it easier for other drivers to see you coming. 

Maintain distance with other drivers

As we touched on earlier, rain makes it harder to stop. Giving yourself extra room between you and the car in front of you will allow you more stopping time and reduce your risk of rear-ending someone. 

Avoid standing water

Running over standing water can make your vehicle hydroplane, causing you to lose control of your car. This means avoiding pulling too tightly on the freeway on or off-ramps, avoiding the edges of the road where water accumulates, and keeping an eye out for reflective puddles. If your car does hydroplane, it’s important to remember to let off the gas and let your car slow down naturally. Try to avoid turning or slamming on the brakes.  

Driving in Heat:

Most new drivers will not think much about driving in the heat. Most vehicles today have air conditioning, so you may not think high heat affects your driving. This is not true. There are many things to know/keep in mind before hitting the open road. 

Check your fluids and keep your car’s maintenance up to date

When driving in extreme heat, making sure your fluids are topped off is very important. We recommend checking your coolant, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering, and windshield wipers. Making sure your car runs smoothly will keep you on the road (in other words, prevent you from being stranded on the side of the road). 

Belts and hoses

High heat can dry out belts and hoses, causing cracks and leaks. It’s important to have a mechanic or someone familiar with cars take a look before and after a heat wave. 

Battery corrosion

High heat will speed up corrosion in the battery. Having an old battery in during a heat wave could spell trouble. Monitoring the battery/corrosion will help ensure you don’t run into other (more expensive) problems on the road. 

Tire Pressure

Heat causes your tires to expand. During high heat waves, it’s important to monitor the tire pressure and keep it within the approved range. 

Keep yourself cool

Make sure the inside of the car is at an acceptable temperature to keep the driver focused. Being too hot can cause you to pay less attention while driving, become drowsy, or create other distractions (like fanning yourself, for example). Make sure you set your vehicle up so you can keep focused on the road. 


Driving in different weather can be challenging for all drivers. Taking the right precautions and having a basic understanding of how to cope with weather on the road is good for all drivers. We hope this article has given you insightful tips to stay safe on the road. If you are a new driver, click here to see our safety 101 for new teen drivers.

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