Let’s start with the facts.
In the United States, over 1.2 million crashes are weather-related. On average, that leads to nearly 6,000 fatalities and over 445,000 injuries per year, all due to adverse weather conditions. When breaking it down even further, 73% of these crashes occur on wet pavement and 46% occur during rainfall.
As we move into the spring season, Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast will begin to experience plenty of storms, rain, and forms of adverse weather. During this time of the year, we must be extra vigilant to protect ourselves and others while out on the road.
Because of this, your New Orleans attorneys at Cardone Law Firm would like to offer you a few tips for the next time you’re caught driving in the rain.
How Rain Can Cause a Wreck.
A negligent driver ignoring weather conditions can easily lose control during bad weather and cause a serious accident.
The most obvious reason is because of the slippery road surface. The effects of a slippery road can even be made worse by oil and grease that have risen to the surface because of the rain. This can lead to hydroplaning, which is when a vehicle slides uncontrollably on the wet surface of the road.
Another major safety concern during rainy weather is poor visibility. Fast moving rain can make it very difficult to see what is on the roadway, and when coupled with water being kicked back by the vehicle in front of you, visibility can sharply decrease. Night time driving can add another layer of difficulty to these problems.
There are, however, a number of steps that you can take to prevent a tragedy from happening on the road.
Tips for Driving Safely in Heavy Rain
While driving in the rain isn’t impossible, we here at the Cardone Law Firm recommend that you wait out the weather until it is more safe to travel.
If you must travel during that time, however, there are a number of tips and driving techniques that you can use to prevent an accident. All they require is a little preparation and common sense.
- Safety starts before you drive. Before you hit the road, you should make sure that tires have plenty of tread and are properly inflated. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that windshield wipers are working as they should, and that all headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals are functioning properly. A bit of prevention can carry you a long way.
- Plan ahead. Sometimes heavy rains catch us by surprise while we travel about, but if you have a long trip planned ahead, take some time to look at the potential weather conditions and judge accordingly. If you’ll be traveling to work, school, etc., then give yourself plenty of time and leave earlier than usual. Again, unless your drive is absolutely necessary, it’s in your best interest to just avoid driving completely. If it can wait, then you should, too.
- Slow down. Very few occasions require for us to speed, and taking chances during a heavy downpour is just asking for trouble. Even at speeds lower than 35 mph, tires can lose contact with the road and cause you to hydroplane. Instead, slow down as much as necessary and avoid making sharp turns or braking hard. The amount of water on the road and the amount of rain coming down should dictate how fast you can drive, but unless it’s an absolute emergency, take it as slow as necessary.
- Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel. As a nation, we are learning how to deal with technology (e.g. cell phones in our car). While these devices are dangerous enough for a driver behind the wheel, they become much more of a hazard when it is raining. Drivers of all ages should use a bit of common sense and put down their cell phone or mobile device, concentrate on the road ahead, and make sure to keep both hands on the wheel in case an emergency maneuver must be made.
- Keep your distance from other vehicles. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. Wet roads make it much more likely for your car to slip and rear-end the vehicle in front of you. To avoid this type of situation, leave at least 4 seconds between you and the car ahead. Increase the time in between vehicles when experiencing heavier rain.
- Turn on your headlights. Even in light drizzle, your headlights are an excellent safety option as they allow others to see your vehicle more clearly while helping you to see the road better.
- Don’t drive over standing or flood water. Avoid pools of water as these areas can hide greater risks including large potholes, which can lead to trouble for your car, especially your engine.
- Never use cruise control in rainy weather. Cruise control causes your car to accelerate automatically, and in rainy weather conditions, this can occur over a bad or slippery patch of road.
Is Rainy Weather an Excuse for a Car Accident?
If a negligent driver hit you during rainy weather, the rain is not an excuse for their behavior. You’ll still want to obtain their insurance information and take the necessary steps needed to protect yourself both physically and legally.
Of course, the same can be said for any accidents that you cause. That’s why it is essential that you follow the previously mentioned guidelines to protect yourself and other drivers on the road.
The Cardone Law Firm Can Protect You if You’ve Been in a Car Accident Caused by Rain.
You deserve to have your rights protected and to obtain financial recovery if you have been injured in an accident. Your New Orleans attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm understand exactly how to make things right again. We’ll fight for compensation to help you cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
You are not alone on those dark, rainy days. Contact Cardone Law Firm today for a free consultation.