Advice for Driving during Harsh Weather Conditions
Updated: Sep 12, 2022
The Northeast is often hit with bad weather conditions, such as hurricanes and snowstorms. In recent years we’ve experienced the worst of these disasters due to climate change. So if you do most of your driving in places like Jersey City, Newark, Or Union City you better be prepared for icy road conditions this coming winter.
In April 2019 I experienced the worst of it. I was commuting from Newark, NJ to Jersey City, NJ, and ended up in traffic for 7 hours. This was a commute that would only take 30 minutes even with the worst traffic conditions. So many people had abandoned their cars and Jersey City was struggling with keeping up with the snow. I left my workplace at 3 pm and got home by 10 pm.
These kinds of snowstorms are unpredictable, so usually, Jersey City and Newark are not prepared. However, even with unpredictable weather conditions, we as drivers can still be prepared for the worst. These kinds of storms tend to occur during the change of season, so around the months of August-October and March-April, we should be expecting flooded roads or icy road conditions. In this article we will be going over some of the best advice drivers should take into consideration during harsh weather conditions.
Be a Prepared Driver or Wait it Out
Before driving off, always check the weather conditions and decide if you want to drive in those conditions. There is no shame in being scared to drive in the rain. When I first started driving I refused to drive in the rain as it would psych me out. Sometimes you’re going to get caught in the rain, but if you can avoid these weather conditions as a first-time driver then do so.
If you’re trying to commute home from work or school and it suddenly starts raining/snowing it’s probably best to wait it out. Driving during these times can be stressful as traffic and road conditions become almost impossible to navigate. When New Jersey was hit with that snowstorm in April 2019, I knew some people that decided to wait it out. Even though they were waiting in their workplace or school until midnight, it had paid off. By that time the roads are clear. Honestly, Instead of waiting in my car in traffic fearing for my life, I should've waited out the snowstorm, I could’ve waited in the comforts of my workplace.
Carrying supplies with you is a good idea. A shovel is a great tool to keep in your car. There have been times where I would get snowed in at work and then be forced to use my hands to clear my car out of the snow. I could’ve saved myself from hypothermia and some time if I had a shovel. Keeping a poncho and snow boots isn’t a bad idea either.
Prepare your Car
In general, drivers should constantly be monitoring and assessing their cars for maintenance. However, there are a few things drives can do to prepare their car for the winter. For example, the fluids that run in your engine are important for functionality and temperature maintenance. These fluids should be changed regularly. The vehicle tires should be assessed and changed for the winter. Winter tires should be considered, as they’re better for driving during the winter than the all-season tires that come with your car. Breaks and suspension systems should be maintained too. Auto stores also sell chains that are put on during the snow, these snow chains improve your grip and make a noticeable difference when driving.
Be Cautious When Driving
During harsh weather conditions, you should be driving more cautiously and slower. It’s recommended that you drive 10 MPH under the speed limit. Speed and harsh weather are a formula for disaster. Snow or rain can cause your tires to lose grip and hydroplane. At that point, you won't have any control of where your car is going. If you’re struggling with visibility and you can barely see the car in front of you, it’s recommended that you turn your hazards on, as the car behind you might be struggling to see your vehicle as well.