Driving in Bad Weather
Kansas is known for its changeable weather. Travelers experience wind, rain, hail, snow, and ice - all of which affect driving conditions.
Visit KanDrive.org for continually updated information on weather, road conditions, construction zones, and details for commercial vehicles.
Drive safely when encountering various weather events.
In fog, use your low-beam headlights and fog lights to see and be seen.
Turn off your cruise control and slow down to a speed that allows you to stop before you would hit any hazards in the road.
Don't follow another vehicle too closely. They may stop suddenly.
Use road markings and signs on the right as guides to know when to expect curves and turns.
If the fog is too thick to drive through safely, pull as far off the road as you can and turn on your hazard lights.
Avoid flooded roads. Even when just a small section is underwater, TURN AROUND - DON'T DROWN.
Less than a foot of water can carry away a vehicle. If you get swept downstream, you and your passengers could drown.
Water can hide large potholes, debris, or washed-out sections of roadway that makes driving dangerous.
If you have to drive through a flooded area, first check the area to make sure no power lines are in contact with the water. Move forward slowly and steadily and be ready to quickly abandon your vehicle for higher ground through an open door or window.
Driving through hail can be scary - and loud!
Stay inside your vehicle when it is hailing to avoid being injured.
Find a safe place to stop during a hail storm. Do NOT stop under an overpass, as you risk being hit from behind by passing traffic.
Ice or frozen slush on the roads can cause your tires to lose traction and makes driving extremely dangerous. Do not get out on the roads unless absolutely necessary.
To avoid your vehicle rear-ending whoever is in front of you, sliding into a ditch, or crossing into oncoming traffic, it is important to drive safely.
Before driving, scrape of all ice on your vehicle's windows and mirrors so that you can see clearly.
The best way to travel over ice is to slow down to a speed that gives you plenty of time to stop .
Keep plenty of distance between you and other vehicles. Icy roads can cause a vehicle to slide without warning.
Keep your guard up. Even if the road seems clear, black ice can send you vehicle spinning.
Remember that bridges and overpasses will freeze first. Go slow and avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.
Seeing lightning bolts in the clouds? Don't let them distract you from the road ahead.
Stay in your vehicle to be protected during a thunderstorm. Avoid open vehicles such as convertibles, motorcycles, and golf carts. A lightning strike can damage a vehicle's antenna, electrical system, or tires.
Slowing down is key. It allows you more time to react to bright flashes of lightning that can temporarily blind you.
Watch for any fires or downed power lines caused by lightning.
On rainy days, increase your following distance and give yourself plenty of time to stop.
In Kansas, when you use your wipers continuously, you must also turn on your headlights and taillights.
Make sure your tires have enough tread to handle wet roads without losing traction.
Slow down to a speed that will allow you to control your vehicle. If you do hydroplane, take your foot off of the accelerator and steer in the direction you want to go.
Avoid driving through large puddles and flooded roadways.
Driving in snow is risky. Road conditions will vary. You may not be able to maintain traction or see lane markings. Check weather reports before a trip to avoid being stranded by a snowstorm.
Make sure the exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow, ice, or mud. A blocked exhaust pipe can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment of the vehicle while the engine is running.
Driving on snow means driving slow. Gradually ease to a stop and gently accelerate to get going again.
Increase your following distance to five to six seconds so you will have the longer distance needed stop.
Be ready to brake slowly and avoid sudden stops and starts.
Prepare your vehicle for winter by having it checked by a mechanic.
Before a long trip, let someone know where you are going, what route you are taking, and when you expect to arrive.
If you get stuck, stay with your vehicle. Don't walk away and don't overwork yourself if you are trying to dig it out.
Rescuers can spot your vehicle more easily if you tie something brightly colored to the antenna or place it in your window. Turn on your dome light at night.
Pre-pack blankets and heavy clothing to use in case of an emergency. If possible, save gas and only run the engine and heater long enough to remove the chill.
If there is a tornado watch or warning near you, the safest thing to do is to take shelter and stay off of the road.
If you are driving during a storm, listen to local radio stations for updated road closures and weather warnings.
If you see a funnel cloud or tornado, do not try to drive towards it or away from it. You cannot outrun a tornado and it is extremely dangerous to go towards it because of the debris it will lift and hurl through the air.
In case of a tornado, stop and find shelter. If no buildings are nearby, pull off of the road and get out of your vehicle. Lie face down down in a ditch or on the lowest ground available and cover your head with your hands.
Tornado shelters can be found at toll plazas along the Kansas Turnpike.
On windy days, make sure to keep both hands on the wheel to keep control of your vehicle.
Watch for flying debris that may cross the road.
Be cautious around vehicles witch items that are not secured and could come loose. Do not linger near trailers, which can be blown over.
Strong winds can affect SUVs and trucks with high centers of gravity. If possible, avoid driving such vehicles until winds calm.