KT for Good: Bad weather ahead, keep a safe distance
Part 12 of our series is about the special care you need to take while driving in a bad weather.
By Dr Khaled Koky
Published: Fri 25 Jan 2019, 8:33 PM
Last updated: Sat 26 Jan 2019, 6:27 PM
As a specialist, I have dealt with people who had paraplegia (paralysis of both lower limbs) or quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs) because of car accidents. These patients can't walk and can't even feel that they need to go to bathroom. Their stories are very sad.
I've also seen and treated many patients who required knee replacement or other joint replacement at a very young age as a sequel of accident.
My common advice is: "If you want to reach your destination faster, and more importantly, safer, drive slower."
Aside from speeding, another important trait that all drivers must have is to drive carefully during bad weather.
In this part of the world, the most dangerous time to drive is during foggy weather, when sometimes you cannot see cars or anything five metres in front of you. Use fog lights, do not to switch on the hazard lights unless it is necessary, and always drive in a safe and cautious manner to avoid road accidents.
Traffic also tends to slow down during rainy weather so drivers must reduce speed during heavy rain to avoid hydroplaning. Driving at high speeds can cause motorists to lose control of the vehicle. Be always vigilant on UAE roads as the number of traffic accidents tend to increase during unstable weather.
Aside from the safety tips I've mentioned, I also advice motorists to keep note of their health. Being healthy also means being safe and a good driver because you have proper reflexes.
Some illnesses can affect the ability of the driver to perform well, like having deteriorated vision or neurological diseases like paralysis, stroke, epilepsy, decreased feeling in hands or feet and muscle weakness.
Electrolyte disturbance like hypokalemia (low potassium), hyponatremia (low sodium) and hypocalcemia (low calcium) can also affect proper driving as well as lungs and heart diseases that make the patient weak and short of breath. Insomnia and narcosis or drowsiness caused by drugs also pose danger to drivers and pedestrians.
Tips for Driving in bad weather
> When visibility is down, slow down; attention and distance should be more
> Increase the distance from the three seconds in good weather to a minimum of five seconds - you must be able to stop within the distance of visibility!
> Turn on the lights: Low-beam head lights and front and rear fog lights. No hazard lights, please
> Consider longer braking distances due to wet or slippery road surface
> In rain, reduce your speed to avoid aquaplaning
> Use your windscreen wipers properly (and maintain them properly)
> Concentrate and do not get distracted by your co-passengers, phone or other things
> Listen to the radio for traffic updates
> Care for others, especially for weaker traffic participants like motor cycle drivers, bicycle riders and pedestrians
> Ask your co-passengers to help keep an eye out for oncoming cars and obstacles on the road
> Stay in your lane and don't drift - there's a natural tendency to wander into the middle of the road when visibility gets bad
> Use the right edge of the road as a guide - this can help you avoid running into oncoming traffic or being blinded by oncoming headlights.
> If you have no visibility, pull over to the side of the road and turning on your hazard lights alert other drivers of where you are, or pull into petrol stations or rest areas.
> Plan your trip properly and leave earlier or try not to be on the road at all, if possible.