According to its Bad Weather Driving Survey, men believe that they are better drivers than their mates. Out of 1,000 adults surveyed, sixty-eight percent of the men expressed this opinion. Forty-nine percent of women polled think they are just as adept at driving as their male significant others. Twenty-six percent, more than one in four women, responded that they are better drivers than men.
Men and women may have rated their driving abilities differently, but the genders agreed about driving in bad weather conditions. Eighty-four percent of the men and eighty-six percent of the women chose icy roads and pouring rain as the two most difficult weather conditions to drive in. Only seven percent of the drivers surveyed chose heavy snow as the most difficult weather condition for driving. Four percent of those polled chose sleet as the most difficult condition, while three percent chose strong winds.
Oddly enough, the same situations that make male drivers uncomfortable also make female drivers nervous. Seventy percent of both men and women said the possibility of losing control of your car or having to swerve because of something unexpected in the road were the two most frightening driving situations.
Whether you are male or female, knowing how to adapt to changing road conditions can save your life. Consider the following tips:
- Slow down and leave wider space cushions between you and other drivers when you encounter bad weather, glare, narrow/twisting roads, and low light conditions.
- Remember that, even with headlights, it is extremely difficult to detect pedestrians, bicyclists, and others. Use your headlights between the hours of sunset and sunrise. For the best visibility, use your high beams when you are over 500 feet from oncoming vehicles or 300 feet behind the vehicles ahead.
- When driving under foggy/smoky conditions, turn on your low-beam headlights and fog lights (if your vehicle is equipped with them). Be prepared to stop suddenly. If the fog or smoke becomes so thick that you cannot see well enough to keep driving, pull completely off the pavement and stop. Turn on your emergency flashers.
- Remember that roads are extra slippery at the start of a rain shower because oil, which has risen to the road surface, has not had a chance to wash away. Heavy rains will cause more problems because your tires can begin to hydroplane, like water skis. In this case, the key to keeping your tires in contact with the road is to simply slow down. Also, keep your headlights on when it is raining at any time of day.
- An important skill to learn in snow and ice is the controlled slide. If your vehicle begins to slide, take your foot off the gas pedal. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply them firmly. Otherwise, avoid using brakes, pumping them gently only if you are about to hit something. Steer the car into the direction of the skid to straighten out the vehicle. Then steer in the direction you wish to go.