There are many different car accident causes, some more common than others. One leading cause is inclement weather, but more specifically, rain. Regardless of whether it comes in the form of a downpour or a sprinkle, rain can adversely affect a vehicle’s maneuverability, stability, traction, as well as the driver’s visibility of the road.
There are about 1.2 million weather-related car accidents every year in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration. About 46 percent of those accidents occur due to rainfall, more than snow, fog, or sleet. A study posted in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society shows that rain increases the chances of a car crash by almost 34 percent.
Learning how to drive in precipitation is essential for keeping yourself and your family safe. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when driving in the rain.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Maintaining your car year-round is important to vehicle safety, but especially during the spring months when rain is expected. Make sure your tires and brakes are routinely checked and replaced, as well as your exterior lights. Tire tread depth is vital to maintaining control of your vehicle in the rain, as bald tires severely reduce traction and cannot disperse rain on the pavement as well. Your windshield wipers, which help with visibility, should be replaced every six months but certainly when they start to streak.
Drive Only When Necessary
Rain, especially heavy rain, can make any driver uncomfortable. Whether it is at night or day, if you do not feel comfortable driving and are able to postpone your trip, do so and avoid driving. Furthermore, if you are driving and it begins to rain, find a safe spot to wait out the storm if it is possible.
Driving in the rain reduces your car’s traction and your car needs to travel a greater distance to stop compared to braking in drier conditions. To maintain control of your car, you need to slow down and keep a safe distance between you and other cars, increasing that distance when conditions worsen. Even at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour, newer tires can still lose contact with the road.
Slowing down helps you avoid hydroplaning as well, which is when water builds up between the tires and the roadway, drastically reducing traction. Hydroplaning is dangerous and can lead to a serious accident. If you do begin to hydroplane, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you need to go until you regain control.
The rain can hinder a driver’s vision of the road, as well as reduce the visibility of your car for other drivers. You want to remain as visible as possible in the rain, while giving yourself the visibility necessary to drive safely. Always keep your wipers on in the rain as well as your headlights, and use your defrosters when needed. Keeping your headlights on not only helps you see, but it makes it easier for other drivers to see you.
Do Not Brake Suddenly
If you brake too hard while driving in the rain, your tires will lose traction and your vehicle will skid. That is why it is important to give yourself enough time to slow down and brake in the rain because being softer on the brakes and gradually slowing down reduces skid.
If your vehicle does skid, do not panic and remain calm. Keep your steering wheel in the direction you want to go until you regain traction. Additionally, keep in mind that braking too harshly while in a turn increases the chances of your car skidding as well.
Watch Out for Standing Water
Never drive through standing water. Not only do you not know how deep it is, but you can also lose control of your car while driving through it.
Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Can Help You After a Rain-Related Collision
Driving in the rain can make some drivers act carelessly. If you have been injured by another driver’s negligence, contact our Media car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Our team has years of experience with these types of cases and can help you. Call us today at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. With our offices located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.