Common Driving Hazards and How to Manage Them

driving hazards

Even if you’re a pro behind the wheel, driving hazards can still be distracting and dangerous. From adverse weather conditions to traffic jams, these risks are common. They can even be catastrophic

Knowing how to manage them is key to staying safe on the road. So today, we’re taking a closer look at what to expect and how to drive as defensively as possible. Read on!

Traffic Congestion

Does it ever feel like everyone in your town is heading to the same place you are driving to?

When traffic is moving at a snail’s pace, you might not think about the importance of safe driving. However, this is a time to be on high alert. 

Road congestion can quickly turn into road rage. It can also make drivers irritable and impatient, leading them to cut you off or try to pass you illegally.

Try to put as much distance as possible between your car and the one in front of you. Keep both hands on the wheel and be prepared to stop if the traffic pattern suddenly changes. 

Inclement Weather

When it comes to road hazards, inclement weather is any condition that impedes your ability to drive safely. Of course, this includes rain, snow, sleet, and ice. However, it also means blinding sunlight that affects your visibility. 

If there’s precipitation involved, then use your wipers to keep your windshield clear. You can also use your headlights if you need them to see in dim conditions. 

What should you do if your car starts to lose traction on an icy road? Take your foot off the accelerator, don’t touch the brakes, and steer gently.

Potholes and Debris

You’re driving smoothly, and suddenly, you feel your car travel over a large bump. Then, there’s a forceful jolt. Chances are, you just ran over a pothole.

While these can be nuisances, they could also damage your vehicle if you approach one too quickly. The same goes for any road debris, such as cardboard boxes, blown-out tires, or construction materials. 

Be sure to keep your eyes up and ahead while you’re driving, so you can anticipate these types of driving obstacles.

If you know you’re about to encounter one, then slow down and keep a solid grip on your steering wheel. If possible, change lanes to avoid colliding with the debris. 

Reckless and Aggressive Drivers

Even if you’re doing everything right, another driver’s poor decisions could cost you. Aggressive driving is a term used to encompass a range of dangerous behaviors that could endanger someone on the road.

A few of the most common examples include:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving
  • Erratic lane changing
  • Failure to yield
  • Following too closely
  • Passing where prohibited

Aggressive driving contributes to more than half of all fatal crashes each year. Scan the road ahead of you to identify anyone who may be driving without caution. If you encounter them on the road, then try to avoid driving too closely.

If someone is speeding or driving recklessly near you, then go ahead and slow down to allow them to pass you. Likewise, keep in mind that driving too slowly can also inhibit road safety. Carefully drive around anyone who is moving way under the speed limit and affecting the traffic flow. 

Pedestrians and Bikers

In designated areas, both pedestrians and bikers are allowed to share the roadways with motorists. However, their behavior can affect your safety, and vice versa.

This is a time to use extreme care and caution. Remember the weight and power of your vehicle, and resist the urge to speed around the obstacle. 

Animals or Children in the Road

No one anticipates an animal or a small child running into the road. However, both of these beings lack the maturity or judgment to know better.  

If you are driving in an area where you think this might be an issue, then slow down and look around. This includes rural areas where wildlife might be more prevalent.

The quick surprise of a collision could cause you to veer off the road or run into a nearby object. Keep a safe speed and a firm grasp on the steering wheel. You should be ready to gently apply the brakes at a moment’s notice if required.  

Faulty Traffic Lights

There are few sights more frightening than a malfunctioning traffic light. We depend on these machines to tell us when to go, stop, and slow down. It can be a significant hazard when they’re on the fritz due to an electrical power failure.

Most of the time, you’ll treat these situations like a four-way stop. That means that each driver will proceed in the order at which they approached the intersection. 

While you might know this, remember that other drivers may not be aware of this rule. Therefore, make sure that everyone has come to a complete stop before you take your turn. 

Avoid These Driving Hazards to Stay Safe

You may not be able to avoid all of the possible driving hazards altogether out there.

However, there are steps you can take today to prepare yourself and protect others on the road. While these are some of the most common issues you might find, they aren’t the only ones.

Stay on guard, remain alert, and be prepared to stop if you encounter safety risks.

If you’ve been injured due to a road hazard, reach out to our team. We can work with you to help you reclaim lost wages, pay for property damages, cover medical bills, and more. Get in touch today for a free consultation. 

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