With our very snowy winter this year and even a “bomb cyclone” event, knowing what to do if you’re caught driving in whiteout conditions is essential.
At Bear Creek Towing in Evergreen, we know that all it takes is a mix of heavy snowfall and strong winds to create a sudden whiteout. And we have quite a bit of experience in getting vehicles out of this situation!
Today, we offer a few words of advice on how to avoid accidents or being stranded by properly managing a whiteout the smart way.
Prevention is the Best Cure
If at all possible, it is better to avoid driving in conditions that may result in a whiteout. Check the local weather reports regularly. If you see wind and snow forecast together, it’s best to put off unnecessary trips. If you absolutely have to drive in severe weather conditions, make sure your vehicle is in good working condition, with all lights functioning and appropriate winter tires or snow chains. It’s one thing to get caught in a whiteout and another to just have your car break down in the midst of one.
Visibility is Everything
If you’re caught driving in whiteout conditions, you can expect visibility to be as bad as or worse than heavy fog. At times you may only be able to see a few feet in front of your bumper. To give yourself the best chance of seeing potential hazards and being seen by other drivers, keep your windows clear and fully defrosted. Turn on your headlights, and fog lights if they improve visibility. If you’re driving slower than surrounding traffic, or unable to see approaching cars, turn on your hazards to help avoid an accident.
Slow and Steady
If visibility gets suddenly worse, your aim should be to slow down gradually. Keep your movements smooth and try to leave as much extra space as possible between your vehicle and the next. Sudden braking can set your vehicle on an uncontrollable skid that leads to a vehicle accident. Remember, the driver behind you can’t see well either, so a sudden stop could get you rear-ended. Patience is vital as everyone will take more time than usual when changing lanes and at traffic lights and junctions.
Driving with restricted visibility will take a lot more mental energy and awareness than a typical drive. Try to eliminate distractions from your passengers, the radio, phones and anything else within the vehicle. You will need to be 100% focused on your surroundings and conscious of the changing limits of your view. You should be continuously scanning the right shoulder of the road for people walking, or cars pulled over, to avoid a collision. When approaching bridges, overpasses or any open, unsheltered stretches of road, be aware that wind conditions may considerably worsen.
If you’re caught driving in whiteout conditions, and it’s too dangerous to continue, try to pull over as far as possible off the road. Keep your hazard lights on, set up a warning triangle if you have one and stay inside of the car. If the whiteout continues, it’s best to call your local towing service or roadside assistance. The team at Bear Creek Towing is ready to assist you 24/7, every day of the year.