Top 10 Travel Nurse Driving Tips for Driving in Bad Weather
Autumn leaves have fallen and in some parts of the country winter is seemingly in full force. Snow and ice have begun pummeling parts of the northeast and Midwest and blizzards in the Mountain States have left motorists stranded. While some traveling nurses are fortunate enough to live within walking distance of nurse jobs when bad weather hits, others rely on public transportation and driving.
For those who drive to your nursing jobs, American Traveler has some sound motorist advice. This goes for travel nurses experiencing bad driving conditions now, and for registered nurses traveling to cold weather states who need to prepare for dangerous roads ahead this winter.
For travel nurses who ride the bus, subway or train, it’s important to keep transportation websites, hot links and apps bookmarked in your mobile devices. Most cities offer cyber amenities to riders which are invaluable in finding out if your ride is running late or not showing up at all.
NURSE JOBS REMINDER: Bad weather means more drive time to traveling nurse jobs, so leave early and arrive on time. Be the registered nurse who supervisors say always shows up no matter what.
TOP 10 DRIVING TIPS for Traveling Nurses in Rain, Snow and Ice
- Conduct visual safety check. Before hitting the road in bad weather make it a point to ensure that your tires are properly inflated. Be sure that wipers and lights work and look under the car for leaks. Check oil and wiper fluids occasionally. When temperatures get cold let your vehicle warm a few minutes upon starting.
- Assess driving conditions. Determine what you’re up against before leaving home or work. Listen to local news or check the weather bug travel nurse app on your handheld for driving conditions. Be prepared to drive safely.
- Brake cautiously. It’s important to pump brakes lightly when stopping on slippery roads. If your car has ABS (anti-locking braking system) then hold your footbrake down in a slide. This will prevent the steering wheel from locking up (see vehicle owner’s manual) and enable you to maneuver around objects.
- Accelerate slowly. Punching the gas on slippery roads can cause wheels to spin out of control. Accelerate slowly when coming out of a stop and when passing other vehicles. Pass only if necessary and avoid high speeds. Travel nurse apps for weather come in handy when researching road conditions ahead.
- Watch for hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is a dangerous condition that happens when a layer of water builds up between vehicle tires and wet roads. The slower you drive the less hydroplaning you’ll likely experience in rainy weather. Steer clear of puddles and refrain from driving in heavy rains. Tires with little-to-no tread increase the chance of hydroplaning.
- Watch for black ice. Black ice is a thin layer of transparent ice that makes the road look slick when temperatures drop. Signs include ice forming on mirrors, vehicle antennae or upper corners of the windshield. Black ice is a dangerous road condition that requires driving slowly over it.
- Firmly grasp steering wheel. Driving with both hands on the wheel allows for optimum control in bad weather. This helps keep the wheel steady and enables quick action to avoid accident.
- Use hands free calling. No texting. This is a healthy, safe reminder for traveling nurses but should go without saying. If you must make a call make it hands free. DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE! IT CAN’T BE DONE SAFELY! Either pull over to the side of the road or wait until you arrive at your travel nurse job or otherwise destination. Also note that texting and driving in many states is illegal, as is using mobile devices that are not hands-free when driving.
- Watch for bridges/ tunnels. Bridges and elevated overpasses freeze first, so it’s important to note these surfaces may be icy even when roads are not (bridges are known for black ice). Drive slowly over bridges and through tunnels hidden from sunlight.
- Keep extra space between you and other vehicles. Some experts say to double the 10-feet per 10 mph rule when driving in bad weather. This means if you’re traveling 40 mph you should maintain a distance of at least 80 feet between you and the vehicle in front of you. This will help avoid accident should that care stop quickly. Remember, arriving at your travel nurse job safely is a priority because patients are counting on you.
Driving in bad weather requires a clear head. If you’re tired, feel sleepy, or just left a late shift you may want to consider waiting until weather lets up before hitting the road. Better yet, don’t drive at all until after a good rest or sleep. The number one objective in driving anywhere anytime is to arrive at your destination safely.