If you take ten years of motor accident statistics as a barometer of a general trend and then look at the cause of weather-related crashes, it might surprise you to learn that nearly half of these accidents happened during rainfall.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) who publishes these figures, show that the chances of having an accident on a rainy and wet day is much higher than if it is snowing or sleeting.
The irony is that drivers will probably take more care when it’s snowy as the perception is that these are more dangerous driving conditions than if it is raining heavily, but the figures don’t back that theory up.
Is your car fit for the rain?
Prevention is always the best policy, but if you are unfortunate enough to have an accident, it could be in your best interest to talk to an attorney that has considerable experience with car accident cases in Louisiana, or certainly someone with equivalent credentials.
A good starting point in your bid to stay safe in wet weather conditions and avoid an accident in the first place, is to ensure that your car is rain-ready.
It is important to make sure that your tires have enough tread and according to NHTSA guidance, they suggest that if your tires have 2/32 of an inch of tread remaining or less, they are not safe and need replacing.
Get a tire gauge and check the tread depth regularly. You should also ensure that you check the tire pressure every month and as well as checking your tires, you should also check to see if your windshield wipers are up to the job.
Making sure your car is fit and ready for rainy conditions is going to help reduce the prospect of an accident, as will adopting some safe driving tactics.
Reduce your speed
It is amazing and worrying to watch so many motorists driving their car along the highway at speeds that are totally inappropriate to the prevailing conditions.
You need to slow down in wet weather conditions as driving too fast on wet pavement will increase the chances of your tires losing their traction. When the roadways are wet, this has the effect of reducing the level of friction between your tires and the road, which could result in your losing control.
It is quite possible that you can lose up to a third of your normal traction when you drive in wet road conditions, so it makes sense to make allowance for this by reducing your speed by a third to compensate for this.
Keep your distance
The general advice for driving safely in dry weather conditions is to focus on staying 3-4 seconds behind the vehicle directly in front of you, and checking this against a marker on a regular basis.
In wet weather, that distance calculation should increase to somewhere nearer six seconds, so that you have enough stopping distance when you brake in wet and slippery conditions.
If you start skidding
If you have experienced the effect of hydroplaning while you are behind the wheel, you will probably agree that it is an experience that you would not wish to go through again if you can help it.
Hydroplaning occurs when your tires are basically riding on the top of a layer of water rather than gripping the road.
This means that you have lost contact with the road and a sure way to know if this is happening is when your steering becomes extremely light in your hands.
Do not attempt to turn the wheel while your car is hydroplaning and gently ease your foot off the gas in an attempt to a controlled reduction in speed and to try and regain control of the vehicle.
The effect of easing off the gas should result in transferring sufficient weight forward in order for your tires to regain contact with the road. If this doesn’t work, try gently squeezing the brakes in an effort to slow the vehicle down without going into a skid.
Improve your driving skills
Experiencing these sort of potentially dangerous scenarios in your car should provide you with a level of caution that means you are more careful in future when setting off on a journey in wet weather conditions.
It could be beneficial to consider taking some advanced driving class, as this will not only improve your confidence and handling skills, it might even get you a reduction on your insurance.
When you look at the wet weather accident statistics, it is clear that you will need your car and your skills to be up to the task. Alternatively, you might need a good attorney.
In 2011, Keith Magness formed the Law Office of Keith L. Magness, LLC with the goal of providing outstanding legal services to individuals at a fair and reasonable price. Keith has a passion for representing people injured through the fault of others and focuses his practice on assisting victims injured in auto, 18-wheeler, company vehicle, motorcycle, bus and fatal accidents.