Driving in Rain, Fog or Snow

drivinginfog_largeA bit of rain, snow or ice makes roads slippery. Wet leaves can be slippery and hazardous. Reduced speed and increased following distance improve your safety under these conditions.  Take additional care on curves, turns and expressway ramps.

In heavy rain, your tires can begin to ride on the water that is on top of the road pavement. This “hydroplaning” can cause complete loss of traction and control of steering. Hydroplaning normally occurs at higher speeds, but it also can occur if your tires are tread worn or not inflated properly. When there is heavy rain, it always makes sense to drive more slowly. If your vehicle begins to lose traction, decrease your speed even more. Good tires with deep tread help to prevent hydroplaning.

Rain, fog or snow make it harder to see through your windshield, and difficult for other drivers to see you. New York State law requires you to turn on your headlights when the weather conditions require the use of windshield wipers to clear rain, snow, sleet or fog. “Daytime lights” do not qualify as headlights.

High headlight beams reflect rain, fog and snow as it falls. This makes it even harder for you to see. For better visibility during these weather conditions, keep your headlights on low beam. Reduce your speed. Signal your turns further ahead of time to give other drivers and roadway users more warning. Brake early when you decrease speed behind another vehicle or come to an intersection stop.

Some vehicles have front fog lights or front and back fog lights, for use when heavy fog or similar hazardous weather conditions restrict visibility. In New York State, all fog lights must be correctly installed and of a type approved by the Commissioner of DMV.  Front fog lights can be amber or white in color. Back fog lights must be red and can be larger than the normal back lights – they will give advance warning of the presence of your vehicle to the drivers behind you. When visibility improves, you can switch off your fog lights to reduce the glare that can bother other drivers.


The above is an excerpt from the article, “Special Driving Conditions.” For more information please visit dmv.ny.gov

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