The extended periods of mild winter weather so far this season have provided an unexpected break for limo drivers from the icy, snowy and slippery roads typically seen throughout most of the country this time of year. Over 70% of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions which receive an average annual snowfall of more than five inches, and almost 70% of the U.S. population lives in these snowy regions. And although there have been some cold snaps, the unseasonable conditions, particularly in the Midwest, have made many roads easier to drive than usual. Consequently, the typical delays and the increase in accidents haven’t been much of a factor this year for most limo drivers.
So what does this mean to a professional limo driver? For one thing, you’re probably experiencing more vehicles on the road and traffic moving at a higher rate of speed. The ability to get to your destinations on time is surely a positive result of the milder temperatures, but there are two hidden hazards relating to the good weather conditions.
The first risk relates to what happens when the inevitable change in weather conditions does occur, even if just for a brief period of time. As a professional limo driver you know how to adjust your speed and following distances accordingly, and understand the change in braking distance when rain, frozen rain or snow begins to fall. However, not everyone is a trained professional. Be mindful of other drivers that may be lulled into a
false sense of security that because of the mild conditions, adverse weather will not be a factor. Those motorists may not be as quick to adjust their driving habits to changing conditions. This means that you need to watch carefully for traffic that doesn’t make the adjustment in speed and following distance, and be on the lookout for lane jockeys that don’t apply common sense when changing lanes.
The next risk regards maintenance. Wipers, antifreeze, the defroster and all those other items that are normal factors during sustained winter weather may slip your mind under current conditions. You don’t want to be surprised to find out that you’re out of washer fluid because you haven’t had to fill it as often as in past winters. Be sure to complete a
thorough pre-trip inspection and check your vehicle often along the way. And, for safety’s sake, don’t assume that because things are clear today, they’ll stay that way for the rest of the winter. Keep informed of the latest weather and road conditions so you can be ready for whatever nature throws your way.