Conditional Driving

Difficult Situations and Precautions for Driving

Driving on road can never be same. There are multiple factors that can cause hindrance in smooth driving. These may include condition of the road, type and volume of the traffic moving on road, condition of the vehicle and environmental factors. Out of these, the owner of the can has control over the vehicle condition but other factors such as road condition, traffic condition and environment conditions have no control of the driver. A good driver must be able to anticipate dangerous situations to respond quickly and effectively to prevent any possibility of road crash. The phenomenon is called Defensive or Strategic Driving. Defensive Driving is based on three ideas: Visibility, Space and Communication. Visibility is about seeing and being seen. Managing the Space around your vehicle lets you see, be seen and gives you time and space to avoid a collision. Communication with other road users makes sure that they see you and know that what you are doing. Precautions to take while driving at various difficult situations is described below.

Driving at Night

It is difficult to drive at night as compared to day due to low visibility. In the dark it is very difficult to spot pedestrians, cyclist, stray animals and parked vehicles on the road. Oncoming vehicles travelling using high beam also obscure the vision which makes driving a difficult task. It is recommended that speed should be kept low while driving at night and should keep looking for moving traffic approaching from all sides. This would enable other drivers to spot you. While driving on urban areas where street lighting is sufficient, it is recommended to drive with low beam. On highways or high speed corridors it is recommended to keep the headlights on high beam. For enhanced visibility for driving at night it is preferable to keep windscreen and headlights clean.

Driving in Fog

In winters, fog becomes a major reason for road crashes. The accident caused due to fog at times results in crash of multiple vehicles and claims a number of lives. Fog reduces visibility to a great extent which results in difficult driving conditions. Avoid driving in fog, plan your trip so that you drive when the fog clears. Drive slowly, put on fog lamps if available. Maintain adequate distance from the vehicles moving in front of you. Many people drive putting on hazard lamp during the fog and low visibility which is an incorrect practice.

Do's and Don'ts for Driving in Fog


  • Drive slow depending upon the conditions.
  • Switch on the lights of your vehicle.
  • Use low-beam headlights as high-beams reflect the moisture droplets present in fog which makes it difficult to see.
  • Use the left edge of the road as a guide, rather than the centre line.
  • Keep sufficient distance from other vehicles because you may need extra distance to brake safely.
  • Look as far ahead as possible.
  • Keep your windows and mirrors clean. Use wipers and defroster for better visibility.


  • Never stop on the road suddenly.
  • Do not overtake or change lanes abruptly.

Driving During Rain

Drive slowly when it is raining. Rain makes road surfaces slippery as the tires make less contact with the road. A thin layer of water is formed between the tires and the road causing a complete loss of control. This is called hydroplaning. Make sure you have good tires with deep tread. Rain also reduces visibility. If the windshield wipers are not in good condition, then it will be difficult to drive. In such situations rive when the rain stops. If the wiper blades do not clean the windshield properly, change them. Keep more distance from the vehicle moving ahead as it will take longer to stop. It is suggested that during rain the speed should be kept low to a level such that you may see the road ahead and moving vehicles. During rain it also takes longer to stop due to hydroplaning. The condition of tires also plays an important role therefore it is essential to keep tires in good condition and properly inflated.

Workers on the Road

Drive slowly and carefully through work zones. Obey the warning signs and people who are working and directing traffic through the work zones. Adjust your speed as per the condition of the work zone. Do not change lanes abruptly and watch for workers and construction vehicles present on the road. Be patient if traffic is delayed due to construction work. If your lane is blocked and no one is directing traffic, let the vehicle coming from the opposite direction pass. When the way is clear, move slowly and carefully around the obstacle.

Animals on the Road

Domestic, stray or wild animals may appear suddenly on road. Especially cows, may appear on the road at any time from any direction. Be careful while driving at night because animals having dark skin such as buffalo or blue bull would be very difficult to spot. Stay alert for animals and slow down if an animal comes on the road. It is also essential for drivers to know something about animal behaviour and characteristics. For example, large animals such as cows always move in forward direction whereas small animals such as dogs and monkeys can also move backward from the middle of the road. Animals on roads are one of the major causes of accidents on Indian roads.