summer stormsDarkening skies, heavy patches of fog, strong gusts of wind and rain are sometimes as much a part of summer as are clear, sunny days.  The fact is no season comes without the risk of inclement weather.  As millions of us head out onto the streets and highways to enjoy our well-earned vacations, we should remain mindful of this fact and take precautions that will help us to prevent tragedy from becoming a part of our travels.

Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe as you head out on vacation.

Slow down:  According to some statistics, traction can be reduced by as much as 30% during a storm.  During heavy downpours reduce your speed by at least one third and increase anticipated breaking distances. 

Never drive through standing water:  Judging the depth of standing water that has collected during or in the aftermath a downpour can be virtually impossible at times and guessing wrong can lead to a disaster.

Turn on your windshield wipers:  Make sure that you have properly fitting windshield wipers and that they are in good condition for use in the rain.

Be on the lookout for fallen trees and power lines:  Even power lines that do not carry current can entangle your vehicle if you attempt to drive over them.  If your car does become entangled in power lines wait until help arrives and do not attempt to extricate yourself.

Don’t come to sudden stops:  Breaking hard can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.  When you need to come to a stop, take the foot of the gas and gradually slow down before breaking.

Pull over if the storm is too strong:  Pull over to a sheltered garage or underpass until the storm passes if it becomes too powerful.  Also, be sure to activate your emergency flashers if you must pull over to the side of the road.

Turn on your fog lights:  During heavy fog turn on your fog lights and not your high beams.

Keep your radio turned on:  Weather updates will keep you informed about road conditions, developing weather patterns and notify you of accidents that you may be approaching.

Yes, the fog, thunder storms and heavy winds of summer can be every bit as dangerous as their winter counterparts.  Summer storms and driving are sometimes inseparable but making common sense decisions when you are trapped in inclement weather can help make your vacation safe as well as happy.