Wet roads and poor visibility can greatly increase your risk of a crash. In fact, according to AAA, wet roads contribute to as many as 1.2 million traffic accidents each year. Poor weather conditions make it more difficult for drivers to identify and respond to standing water, downed branches and other hazards. To reduce your risk of a rain-related accident, follow these safety tips.
Driving too fast on wet roads increases your risk of a crash, especially if you hit standing water or lose traction. It is important to understand that the posted speed limits may no longer apply in bad weather, and a careful driver will travel at slower speeds on slick roads.
Not only does slowing down reduce your risk of losing control, it also helps you leave sufficient stopping distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. If they have to stop quickly, slick roads may make it more difficult for you to stop in time if you are following too closely.
Use Your Headlights
It can be easy to forget to turn your lights on when a shower pops up, especially when turning your lights on does not seem to help improve your visibility. However, turning your lights on does make your car more visible to other drivers. It can be difficult to spot other vehicles in the often bleak conditions brought on by wet weather. This is especially true for older drivers or those who are not familiar with the area. As a side note, do not drive with your flashers on. Use flashers only for emergencies when you are stopped at the side of the road.
Avoid Driving in the Dark
When possible, avoid nighttime driving during the rain. When it rains at night, it is much more difficult to spot pedestrians, animals, debris on the road, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other possible hazards. If you do have to drive at night, take your time and pay close attention to your surroundings and other traffic.
Avoid Standing Water
Never drive through standing water that appears higher than your engine block. Not only could a current from a flooded creek or river wash your car off the road, water can seep into your engine and stall you out, causing electrical problems. If you do drive into standing water and then realize the water level is approaching the lower edge of your doors, back out and immediately find another route.
Know Hydroplaning Risks
By understanding when hydroplaning occurs, you can greatly reduce your risk. To cut down on your chances of hydroplaning:
- Reduce your speed – Most incidents occur at 35 miles per hour or above.
- Choose tires with tread designed to prevent hydroplaning – Bald tires contribute to your risk
- Never use cruise control in slick conditions – This makes it more difficult to regain control
- Avoid standing water, even if it is only a fraction of an inch – Hydroplaning occurs most frequently when there is only a film of moisture on the roadway
- Drive in the middle lane when possible – Runoff tends to collect on the right and left sides of the road
React Properly If You Do Hydroplane
While avoiding a situation where you hydroplane is the best option, it is not always possible. If you do feel your tires lose traction, immediately take your foot off of the gas pedal. Do not, however, slam on the brakes. Instead, gently steer into the spin and wait to feel your tires get traction again. In most cases, this takes only seconds and you can regain control of your car.
Prepare for Driving in Wet Weather
Before you drive in rain or other wet conditions, it is important to ensure your car is in proper working condition:
- Checking your windshield wipers for evidence of tearing or other wear
- Topping off your windshield wiper fluid
- Repairing any dents or cracks in your line of vision that might reduce visibility through the windshield glass
Contact Cordisco & Saile LLC After an Accident
Rainy weather is a dangerous time to drive, even if you follow all of these tips. You can still file a claim if your accident happened in bad weather. If you suffered serious injuries in a rain-related accident caused by a driver who acted carelessly or recklessly, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help you get the compensation you deserve from the liable party. Call us today at 215-642-2335 for a free case evaluation, or to talk more about your options for financial recovery.