If you're keeping an eye on the news at the moment, or looking out at the city, you will know there is a storm heading our way. Heavy rain, lighting, gusting winds and flooding are dangerous components of our sub-tropical climate. Unfortunately, this weather also generates more risks on our roads, and often damage to our vehicles and homes.While we love our beautiful state, storm season can contribute to higher accident and fatality rates on our roads; hazards brought down by the storm, heavy rain and hail as well as other drivers. So, before you jump in the car this storm season, check out these tips for surviving the drive, especially if another storm strikes while you are out on the open road!
Be weather aware:
With weather apps, as well as good old fashioned radio, you can stay aware of what is happening weather wise. There are a number of apps which include radar imaging, as well as the Bureau of Meteorology site (BOM), which has up-to-date weather warnings and radar imaging, for all of Australia.
When travelling, keep an eye on the sky and if you have any doubts about the conditions, have a passenger keep an eye on the BOM site. If you do notice approaching bad weather, find a place to pull over, ideally undercover, and wait it out.
If you are stuck somewhere without Internet, local radio stations will keep you up to date on the weather. There are usually signs along major highways and roads, advising of what station to tune in to for these updates.
Pull over and wait out the bad weather:
If you are travelling and a storm sets in, the best thing to do is safely pull over and wait it out. If possible, try to find a fuel station, shops etc. that have undercover parking, in case the storm brings hail.
Rain dramatically reduces visibility, making it harder for you to see other drivers, and for them to see you. This is why pulling safely off the road is your best option to avoid a weather related accident.
Drive to survive:
If you must keep driving in poor weather (we recommend you don’t), adjust your driving to the weather:
- turn on your headlights
- drop to at least 10km/h below the speed limit
- increase your following distance to at least 5 seconds
- keep both hands on the wheel
These measures will help other drivers see you, and in the event of aquaplaning, will give you adequate stopping distance to help avoid an accident.
Don’t risk it:
Storms can bring down powerlines, trees and other debris, as well as cause flash flooding. If there is debris blocking your path, it is best to avoid this, and don’t try to move it. Even an innocuous looking tree branch could be hiding a fallen powerline.
If you do come across fallen powerlines, stay away. Don’t drive over them or attempt to move them from your path.
Flash flooding can cover roads and submerge bridges, which could prevent you from continuing on your journey. You should not drive through these, even if they seem low flowing. Flood waters can hide any number of hazards and the flow of these waters can be very strong.