As we head into the Mardi Gras weekend preceding Fat Tuesday, the weather conditions remain a bit iffy. There was so much concern over the rain and high winds this week that New Orleans city officials wouldn’t let any of the Thursday night parades roll.
While those parades have been rescheduled to roll during the already jam-packed Carnival weekend, South Louisiana revelers should understand the impact that inclement weather can have on their Mardi Gras fun.
Whether you plan to attend this year’s festivities or watch the parades on TV from the comfort of your own couch, below are some tips for safer driving in windy and rainy conditions.
Remain focused on driving in bad weather
Ideally, this advice will be heeded by motorists every time they drive. But it is even more vital to pay close attention to the road ahead of you when it’s windy or rainy. Keep both hands gripping the wheel and eliminate any distractions like the radio or even conversations with passengers.
Beware of gusting winds
Anyone who has ever tried to drive across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway or the bridge over the Bonnet Carré Spillway Bridge when the wind is blowing really hard understands the danger they face. That’s why officials frequently shut down the Causeway when the gusts get too strong, as smaller passenger vehicles can literally get blown out of their lanes.
But semitrucks and tall SUVs face dangers, too, as they can sway dangerously in gusting winds and could even topple over.
Slow down in the rain
When interstates and surface streets first get wet by rain, they get very slick from oil and other residues. This can cause drivers to skid through intersections and be unable to stop in time to avoid collisions.
If the rain continues, drivers could hydroplane on the road and be unable to control their vehicles. It’s also unsafe to ever attempt to drive through standing water. Areas under overpasses and along low-lying roads are especially vulnerable to flooding during heavy rains. Remember the rhyme, “turn around, don’t drown” if you approach water across the road.
If you wind up in an accident, learn how you can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.