Fog Blog

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Today’s Three Seconds: Dangers of Fog

3 Second Stop

Now that summer is officially gone, the weather will start to slowly change. You’ll start to notice mornings are now cold and foggy. Driving in the fog can bring more challenges. Did you know that the number one danger of driving in the fog is low visibility? The U.S. Department of Transportation states, “Each year, over 38,700 vehicle crashes occur in fog. Over 600 people are killed and more than 16,300 people are injured in these crashes annually.” If you can, it’s best to stay at home and avoid driving in the fog. If you need to drive in foggy conditions, always use your low beam headlights and be sure to give yourself extra time to arrive to your destination safely.

Extra Space

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Today’s Three Seconds: Three-Second PLUS Rule

3 Second Stop

Under normal driving conditions, the “Three-Second Rule” works great in determining following distance and should give you plenty of time and space to avoid a collision.  Sometimes, however, you may need to add additional space to the equation, and this is called the “Three-Second PLUS Rule.” Here are some instances when you need to leave extra space and increase your following distance to 4 seconds or more:

  • When visibility is poor.
  • In adverse weather conditions.
  • On poorly paved roads.
  • When following a motorcyclist.
  • When towing a trailer or are carrying a heavy load.
  • When being tailgated.

For a more in-depth look at the 3-Second Rule check out our blog on Following Distance.

Blinded by Light

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Today’s Three Seconds: Sun Glare

3 Second StopDriving in bright sunlight can pose a threat, even more so if your windshield is dirty. Cleaning your windshield (both inside and out) should be done often. In normal daylight conditions, a dirty windshield can reduce your visibility and in high sunlight situations, a dirty windshield can lead to having no visibility at all. If you’re having problems seeing due to sun glare, remember that others on the road are having the same trouble. Leave yourself sufficient following distance and be extra alert.

Road Hazard

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Today’s Three Seconds: Flooded Roadways

3 Second StopExcessive rain can lead to flooded roadways which pose a danger for drivers. Six inches of water on a roadway can impair your car and cause it to stall. Twelve inches of water could cause your vehicle to float. Standing water on the road can hide debris, downed power lines, and sink holes. If at all possible you should attempt to find a different route when you come across a flooded roadway. If you have no other option but to proceed through standing water, then drive very slowly and after you have exited the water, dry your brakes by driving slowly and braking lightly. If you think the water is deeper than six inches, do not attempt to drive through it.

Inclement Weather

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Today’s Three Seconds: Fog

3 Second StopIf there is dense fog, it is best not to drive at all, but if you must, please remember:

If you are having a hard time seeing the road and vehicles, other drivers are having a hard time seeing you as well. Turn on your low beam headlights to increase your visibility; your high beams can easily reflect in foggy conditions and impair your visibility further.

Slow down and watch your speedometer; fog can create a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be going much faster.

Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.

Also, it is a good idea to drive with the driver-side window rolled down a little. If there is going to be a problem, such as a car crash up the road, you might be able to hear it long before you can see it.

If visibility is so bad that you cannot see the road ahead, pull as far off the road as possible and turn on your emergency flashers.

Slip Risk

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Today’s Three Seconds: Freshly Wet Roads

3 Second Stop
As you may already know, wet roads require extra care when driving. However, were you aware that many roads are the most slippery when it first starts to rain, particularly if it hasn’t rained in a long time? When rain first begins to fall, the accumulated oil on the road will be loosened and mixed with the water, making it even slicker than after it has been raining for a while.

What’s the Speed Limit?

Basic Speed Law

Driving is fast paced. There is a lot going on around your vehicle that needs to be taken into account. That’s why speed limits are important. They tell us a safe speed to travel at in a given area. However, sometimes even the posted speed limit is not safe. This is where the Basic Speed Law comes into effect. The Basic Speed Law tells us to not drive faster than is reasonable and prudent under the current conditions. That means you need to take into account everything going on in your driving environment and decide what the safest speed is. Otherwise, you could find yourself with a ticket.

When determining what a safe speed should be, some things to consider are:

  • How’s the weather? Is it a clear day? Is it raining?
  • What time of day is it? Is it daytime or nighttime?
  • How’s the flow of traffic? Is there traffic congestion?
  • Are there pedestrians? Is there a lot of foot traffic or children playing nearby?
  • Are you sharing the road? Is there a bicyclist on the road?
  • What’s the road like? Is the road wet or dry? Narrow or wide?

Winterize Your Vehicle

Are You Ready?

snowy road

We want to make sure you’re well-prepared for changing weather conditions as winter rapidly approaches.  There are several simple things you can do to help make sure you and your vehicle stay safe!

The LAST thing you want is to get stranded out in a storm because your car battery died.  Extremely cold temperatures can reduce your car battery’s life up to 50 percent, so checking your battery is crucial! To test your battery, take it to a mechanic where professional equipment can detect if your battery is running low on life.

Getting an oil change with proper oil is another great way to help winterize your car.  For colder conditions, a thinner, less viscous oil is desirable because the oil tends to thicken the colder it gets outside.  If it’s too thick, it won’t be able to do a good job keeping your engine lubricated.  Check your owner’s manual to find out which oil is best for your vehicle.

During the unpredictable conditions of winter weather, visibility is a must.  First, make sure your wiper blades are up to par.  They generally are good for about one year, so if you’ve had them longer than that, now is the time to switch them out!  Another step to optimize your visibility during stormy weather is to have your windshield washer reservoir well-filled with windshield wiper fluid.  Don’t substitute it for water, because water can freeze.  Don’t forget to test your heater and defroster to see that they’re working properly.

Tires are a huge consideration when it comes to this time of year.  Check your tire pressure weekly.  Properly inflated tires will provide better traction and control in icy, wet and snowy conditions.  Make sure your spare tire also has proper pressure and that your jack is in good working condition.  Consider using snow tires, especially if you live in an area that receives a lot of snow.  They will perform much better than all-weather tires.  Poorly aligned wheels are also a risk-factor, so have your tires rotated regularly as recommended.

Last but not least, keep an emergency kit in your car.  Pack some essentials like a flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit in your trunk, along with extra gloves, boots, warm blankets, a small shovel and non-clumping kitty litter or sand for when you need added traction.  It’s not a bad idea to have extra batteries and a few energy bars or snacks on hand too.  Other items in your emergency kit could include extra antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, paper towels, jumper cables, and tire chains.

By taking time to plan ahead, winterizing your car can be easy, and should be a priority to keep you and your family safe and your vehicle operating properly.