Road Warrior Checklist – Bad Weather

A Road Warrior is prepared for bad weather

A Road Warrior is prepared for bad weather

Here’s what my fortune cookie on Saturday night said:

My fortune

I rather enjoy putting my imaginative skills to work with these little doodles.  ANYhow, now that that’s out of the way…

The last few days I’ve had several appearances in less than ideal weather.  With no further ado, my Road Warrior Checklist for traveling in bad weather:

  • Timing. My rule of thumb is to leave 15 minutes earlier for every hour of a planned trip in bad weather.
  • Speed. Speeding will make you feel good about your pace, but will never save you a significant amount of time.
  • Pick the correct lane. There are a lot of factors involved in choosing the correct traveling lane.  Driving in the path of other vehicles ensures your tires are touching more of the road and less of the water.  Stay out of the fast lane if possible.  Get out of other people’s way when they want to pass.
  • Stay in the correct lane. Try not to change lanes.   There is a lot more water between lanes and more chances to hydroplane.
  • No Cruise Control! There is an urban myth that if your car is on cruise control and you start to hydroplane your vehicle will accelerate to make up for the loss in traction.  The reason the highway patrol recommends against the use of cruise control in wet weather is that you only have moments to react to hydroplaning by reducing speed and maintaining control of your vehicle.  Cruise control in these situations will deprive you of a few moments of a potential speed decrease (where you would take your foot off the gas) by maintaining your current speed.
  • Following distance. Other people are going to be driving like maniacs.  Always make sure you have plenty of following distance.
  • Brakes. If your brakes are squeaking, they’re already in bad shape.  Get them checked out and replaced regularly.
  • Tires. Get your tires rotated regularly, make sure they have plenty of tread, and make sure they are properly inflated.  Remember the penny test: if you stick a penny into the tread and can see the top of Lincoln’s head you need to replace your tires.
  • Windshield wiper blades. Worn blades will just smudge.  Just plan on replacing your windshield blades every year.  Don’t forget your rear windshield wipers!

Prior “Road Warrior Checklists


Road Warrior Tip – Four Ways To Improve Long Drives

Road Warrior

Road Warrior

I used to really dislike driving long distances.  However, in the last few months I’ve done a few things to completely change my mind.

  1. Use a GPS. I no longer have to worry about leaving directions at home, taking a wrong turn, finding food or fuel, or needing a detour.  I just hop in the car, hit the road, head in the general direction of my destination, and plug in the address on the way.
  2. Buy prescription sunglasses. Sunglasses have made a world of difference.  Yesterday I drove out to Auburn in the morning and back to the East Bay in the afternoon, driving into the sun both ways.  Having the sunglasses has completely eliminated squinting and strain on my eyes.
  3. Take Music. Loading up the GPS with music has really helped pass the time.  I even added a few hours of MCLE, just in case!
  4. Drive slower. I’ve made a point of obeying the speed limit, even when I’m running late.  Driving fast saves a negligible amount of time and can be very stressful.

These four things have transformed my long drives from stressful events into fairly enjoyable trips.

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