Brace yourselves – there’s going to be some bad weather in Australia this winter! Before you get hit by the gales, snow and showers, be sure to read these tips on how to drive safely in severe weather.

Don’t go out if you don’t have to

If you don’t have to drive, don’t.Catch public transport instead to reduce time spent in traffic congestion during the wet weather. If the weather is going to be severe, stay at home or indoors where it’s safe until the bad weather has passed. Ask your employer about flexible working arrangements and postpone non-essential travel in heavy rain.

Drive safely by going slow

The most obvious advice when driving in bad weather is to slow down. Posted speed limits are a guideline for the maximum, not the minimum speed for driving. In wet or bad weather conditions, you should always reduce your driving speed and drive safely for those conditions.

Don’t drive if you can’t see the road

Heavy rain, hailstorms, and other visibility changes are huge safety threats when you’re on the road. If visibility is poor, turn on your headlamps and again – drive slow. If visibility is really bad and you can’t see the road or vehicle head, the safest thing to do is to get off the road. Park somewhere safe (off the shoulder of the road if possible, and away from traffic) and activate your emergency flashers so that other drivers may be able to see you. Similarly, if there’s water over the surface a road, don’t drive through it. You don’t know how deep it is and it’s just not worth the danger! People have died thinking they could make it through.

Maintain your vehicle

Proper vehicle maintenance is crucial for safety at all times, regardless of the weather. Check your car regularly to ensure that it is safe for driving. This includes checking your windshield wipers, defrosters, tyre air pressure, and engine. Make sure your steering, lights and brakes are functional and get them checked and fixed as soon as you find something wrong with them. In wet weather, low pressure tyres can cause you to hydroplane very easily.

Be prepared

Check the weather forecast before heading out, especially on long trips. By being prepared, you can at least know what to expect and can avoid routes that may be hit by bad weather, or plan to leave at a different time.

Keep a disaster supplies kit

This one may sound more applicable for longer travels, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared even if you’re just going to the office or to get some groceries. A simple disaster supplies kit should include a first aid kit, some non-perishable, high protein snacks, a flashlight, and extra prescription medication. It’s a good idea to keep a small, battery-powered radio and emergency contact card with important names and phone numbers in your car, too.

Bad weather can make things go bad really fast, so it’s always good to be prepared ahead of time. If you’re stuck in bad weather while driving, always be cautious, drive slow, and never take unnecessary risks. Drive safely and stay safe this wet and cold winter season!