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Driving at Night & in Inclement Weather . Visibility. The single biggest contributor to crashes is failing to identify a risk! Tips for cutting down those risks are: 1. Look down the road, to the sides, and behind your vehicle. 2. B e alert for unexpected events.

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Driving at night in inclement weather

Driving at Night & in Inclement Weather


The single biggest contributor to crashes is failing to

identify a risk!

Tips for cutting down those risks are:

1. Look down the road, to the sides, and behind your


2. Be alert for unexpected events.

3. Use your headlights at night and at other times when

it’s hard to see.

4. Be alert and pay attention to what is

going on around you.

Hazardous conditions
Hazardous Conditions

1. Driving becomes hazardous when visibility is reduced or when the road surface is covered with rain, snow or ice.

2. Reducing your speed should be your first response to

decreased visibility and dangerous road conditions.

3. Increase your space cushion by doubling your normal following distance from three seconds to six seconds

4. Turn on your headlights.


  • The Code of Virginia requires that you use your headlights from sunset to sunrise and during inclement weather, such as rain, fog, snow, or when you use your windshield wipers. At twilight, when the sun light begins to fade, turn your headlights ON. This will make your vehicle more visible to others.

When to use low beams
When to Use Low Beams

  • Use low-beams when driving in

    cities and towns

    2. within 500 feet of an

    approaching vehicle

  • following closely behind another vehicle

    (within 200 feet)

    4. driving on lighted roadways

    5. driving in fog, heavy rain, sleet, snow, or dust

Headlight alignment and speed

Topic 1 Lesson 2

Headlight Alignment and Speed

Properly aligned LOW BEAM headlights

  • beam hits roadway 100 to 150 feet ahead

  • illuminates area above road 300 to 500 feet ahead

  • a maximum safe speed of 40 to 45 mph is based on your ability to stop within the lighted area

illuminated roadway

100 to 150 feet

lighted area above road

300 to 500 feet

T – 8.3

High beams
High Beams

Use high-beam headlights onhighways and roadways that are not properly lit, unless another vehicle is within 500 feet coming toward you.

If the high beams of an oncoming car are on,

  • avoid looking directly at the bright lights.

  • glance toward the side of the road, then look quickly ahead to determine the other vehicle’s position.

  • keep doing this until you have passed the other vehicle.

  • even if the other driver does not dim his headlights, do not turn on your high-beam headlights.

Headlight alignment and speed1

Topic 1 Lesson 2

Headlight Alignment and Speed

  • the beam hits the roadway 300 to 500 feet ahead

  • illuminates the area above the road 500 to 1800 feet ahead

  • maximum safe speed is 65 mph based on your ability to stop within the lighted area

Properly Aligned High Beam Headlights

lighted area above road

500 to 1800 feet

illuminated roadway

300 to 500 feet

T – 8.4

Nighttime precautionary measures

Topic 1 Lesson 2

Nighttime Precautionary Measures

  • Clean windshield inside and out

  • Clean headlights

  • Reduce night time speed.

  • Increase following interval.

  • Turn off interior lights.

  • Look to the right of oncoming vehicles.

  • Use high/low headlight beams properly.

T – 8.5

Visibility limitations in fog

Topic 1 Lesson 3

Visibility Limitations in Fog

Driving in Drifting Fog

  • Reduce speed

  • Make sure your headlights are on low beam (aimed at the road surface) to reduce the amount of light/glare reflected back at you

  • Turn on your windshield wipers

  • If necessary, turn on the defroster or air conditioner

T – 8.7

Hazards of driving in rain
Hazards of Driving in RAIN

Driving in heavy rain can be as hazardous as driving in fog, especially if the wind is blowing.

Other vehicles to the rear and in blind spot areas are especially difficult to see when it’s


Safely driving in rain
Safely Driving in Rain

Use your low-beam headlights to see and be seen.

In light rain or drizzle, turn on your windshield wipers to improve visibility

*using wipers for sprinkles may smear the

Windshieldand make it harder to see, so make

sure you have windshield washer fluid.

When rain begins, during the first half-hour,

roads are more likely to be slippery due to oil

on the road surface mixing with water.


Remove snow and ice from your entire car, including the roof, hood and rear of the vehicle, before you start driving.

Snow and ice left on the car can fly off when the vehicle is moving and create a hazard for other motorists.

Be sure to clear all of your windows, mirrors and front and rear lights of snow or ice so you can see and communicate with other drivers.

Tips for safe driving on snow
Tips for Safe Driving on Snow

Equip your car with all-weather snow

tires or chains to help prevent skidding

and reduce stopping distance.

Driving on packed snow is similar to driving on ice. When you brake, apply the brakes gently.

Slow down way before needing to stop

or turn.

Easy does it
Easy does it!!

When driving on slippery surfaces and you need to stop, apply brakes gently.

You have the most traction and control when the

front tires are rolling.

Therefore, your vehicle will respond more effectively to steering while moving more slowly than hard braking.

Watch for ice on bridges and in shady

areas. Bridges freeze before other

road surfaces.

Topic 1 Lesson 3

  • If your stopping distance is longer than your sight distance, you have created a high risk situation – slow down

Stopping Distance

Braking distances at 20 mph with conventional tires on different pavement conditions

Visibility Range

Ice - 150 feet

Packed Snow - 60 feet

Wet - 25 feet

Dry - 20 feet

T – 8.9


Topic 1 Lesson 3

  • Turn headlights to low beams

  • Turn on windshield wipers

  • Make all steering, accelerating, and braking actions gently and smoothly

  • Maintain appropriate lane position

  • Be prepared for effects of gusting or strong

    steady crosswinds

  • Reduce speed to accommodate shortened sight distance

  • Turn on emergency flashers when traveling below speed limit

  • Be alert for vehicles stopped on the roadway

  • Do not stop in travel lane or on shoulder

T – 8.10