Defensive Driving in Washington
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Defensive driving is alert driving that regards every driving situation (intersections, school zones, water on the roadways, etc.) as a potential oh-no waiting to happen.
Driving in Rain
Rain and Washington go together like World War II and the History Channel. When it rains you should reduce your speed by 10 mph, especially during the first ten minutes of a storm when road conditions are especially slick from the rain mixing with lingering road oils.
Also, be aware that hydroplaning becomes a factor on wet roads when you drive 35 mph or faster. Should you sense your tires have lost traction with the road, ease off the gas pedal and try to keep your vehicle straight. Only brake when your tires have regained traction.
Looking Out for Ice
When the temperature drops near or below freezing maintain an alert eye for icy road conditions. Should you encounter ice slow your speed to as if you're driving in heavy city traffic. And don't be fooled into false bravado if you own four-wheel drive. It will not increase your traction on ice.
Be especially aware of ice when driving over bridges, even when the approaching road is dry. Unlike roads that are insulated by the ground, bridges have no natural insulation. Consequently, ice perpetuates on overpass surfaces.
Always lower your speed before entering a curve so you can bend through it without braking. Braking while in a curve increases your chances of skidding.
Driving in Traffic
Always try to maintain the same speed as the traffic around you. Driving at a faster speed will necessitate constant passing and lane changing, putting you on the cusp of reckless. Driving at a slower speed is just as dangerous, if not more. You become an unintentional bottleneck, clogging traffic and forcing other drivers to gnash their molars while attempting to pass.
According to some road studies driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving while drunk. To thwart heavy eyes while driving consider the following:
- Plan a trip so you depart when you're rested rather than tired.
- Avoid ingesting any medication with a potential drowsy-factor.
- Avoid heavy meals as they tend to induce sleepiness.
- Stop often. Walk around, pump the body with fresh air, and even, perhaps, drink coffee or soda.
- If you cannot keep the eyes open stop and take a nap.
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