Rain and wet roadways are responsible for countless fatalities and injuries every year. Missouri motorists often underestimate the dangers posed by rainy conditions. Today’s hectic life and driving distractions further increase the risk of auto accidents when roadways are slippery. Taking time to understand the numerous factors at play when driving in the rain will help reduce accidents and save lives.
Tips for Driving in the Rain
The following precautions and observations will greatly reduce the risk of an accident while driving in the rain.
- Reduced Visibility – Rain and overcast weather limit a motorists ability to safely observe their surrounding conditions. It is important to remember to slow down when it begins to rain to allow additional reaction time.
- Slippery Roads – While obvious, it cannot be overstated: Rain makes the roads slick and alters all aspects of driving. Even small amounts of rain have the potential to make roadways extremely slick. When rain is mixed with the oily residue on roadways, left from tires and leaky automobiles, roads become extremely dangerous.
- Standing Water – Water gathering on the roads causes hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is the loss of traction which prevents the motor vehicle from responding to driving controls, i.e. braking, steering, and accelerating.
- Bald Tires – Tire treads are meant to divert water in a safe manner from underneath the tire. They provide a vehicle with traction and stability. A tire lacking proper treads reduces a drivers ability to control their vehicle.
- Tire Pressure – In addition to tread, correct tire pressure is extremely important. Incorrect tire pressure compromises cornering, braking, and stability. These are all further amplified under wet conditions. Ensure your vehicle has the correct tire pressure at all times.
- Worn Out Wipers – Windshield wipers are extremely crucial. They increase visibility to an enormous degree. Sun baked and worn out wipers will not properly clear your view. A split second impairment of vision holds the potential for an accident.
- Lights – Make sure you turn your headlights on when conditions are raining or overcast. This will allow other drivers the ability to see and react to your vehicle.
- Do Not Follow To Close – Vehicles such as semi-trucks and buses spray large amounts of water behind them as they travel. Following these vehicles tool closely will further reduce visibility and increase the chance of an accident.
- Window Fog – Rainy conditions often cause the inside of car windows to fog. It is important to turn on your ac defrosters to increase your ability to see.
- Check Your Brakes – Brakes are a major lifeline in rainy driving. Reduced visibility requires stopping on a moments notice. Bad brakes increase the stopping distance of a vehicle and increase the likelihood of a collision.
- Be Familiar With Vehicle Controls – It is important to familiaze yourself with all vehicle controls prior to driving. If you are caught in the rain, it is important to instantly know how to turn on the wipers and defrost the windows if necessary.
The golden rule of driving in the rain is to SLOW DOWN. This allows a driver additional reaction and stopping time. It further minimizes damage and injuries if an accident does occur. While driving it is extremely important to remain distraction free. Distractions such as using a cellular phone, texting while driving, applying makeup, etc., add increased danger when conditions are slick and visibility is poor. Distracted driving is a growing cause of injury and death.
Despite best efforts, you cannot guarantee other drivers are taking the same precautions. For instance, large tractor trailer drivers are often in a hurry and under deadline, placing other drivers at an increased risk of a truck accident when conditions are poor. If you are injured in an accident caused by another drivers failure to adjust for rainy conditions, they are responsible for the harm they cause. Rainy and overcast conditions often limit the number of witnesses who see the crash and place your word against another driver. Large insurance companies constantly use this as a denial of reimbursement for your losses. It is important to contact a Missouri or St. Louis accident lawyer immediately if your are injured by another driver who fails to slow down and pay attention in the rain.