New Orleans is no stranger to the rain. We all know the song we sang when we were little, “rain, rain go away, come again another day.” But we aren’t little anymore and most of us are forced to travel in the rain to work and other obligations. Because of the bad weather today and the upcoming rainy season, we wanted to bring to you some tips for safely driving in the rain. We hope you can use these tips yourself and share them with your children and loved ones.
KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS
As we travel, we cross many different types of terrain. For example, driving across a bridge during rain presents different concerns than driving across level ground. Be mindful when driving across a bridge that there may be gusts of wind which may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. A bridge may also not have shoulders for you to pull over if you are unable to see because of the rain.
Different types of vehicles on the road present different types of risks. A heavier and taller vehicle such as an 18-wheeler truck is at a greater risk of being affected by higher winds and thus may have more difficulty staying in its proper lane. It’s key to know your surroundings and be mindful they are ever changing. You not only have to be aware of your immediate surroundings but also the surroundings ahead which you may encounter.
USE YOUR LIGHTS
With rain often comes reduced visibility. There is no excuse for not using your lights on your vehicle during the rain. There is a law in Louisiana that requires you to have your vehicle lights on in certain circumstances. The law provides each vehicle traveling in this state must have its lights activated:
- At any time between sunset and sunrise.
- When, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernable at a distance of five hundred feet ahead.
- When moisture in the air or precipitation necessitates the continuous use of windshield wipers.
- When driving in a tunnel.
Accordingly, if it is raining and you are using your windshield wipers, you better have your lights on otherwise you can receive a citation. The purpose of this law is not only to protect the motorist operating the vehicle but others traveling on the road as well. You can read the full text of the law La. R.S. 32:301 here.
You may want to turn on your bright lights or even turn on your hazard lights (commonly known as “flashers”) for increased visibility. By turning on your hazard lights, you create a constant flash of light that is a continual reminder for other drivers who may also be experiencing problems seeing other vehicles because of the rain. Be on the lookout for drivers who are not using their lights or vehicles which may have broken lights as they create an extreme risk for those traveling at high speeds, especially on the interstate.
Because most of us drive every day, it often becomes routine. When something becomes routine, we become less aware. By not using cruise control in the rain, you take the routineness out of driving. Cruise control can also make your vehicle more susceptible to hydroplaning. If you hydroplane while your cruise control is activated, your vehicle will most likely go even faster because the wheels continue to spin over the water. So the lesson to take away is, never use cruise control on a rainy day. If by chance you happen to hydroplane, take your foot off of the gas and slowly regain control of the vehicle. Do not jerk your wheel as this could cause you to over-correct and further lose control.
THE SPEED LIMIT MAY NOT APPLY
You should often be aware that you may be required to travel under the speed limit depending on the severity of the rain. A speed limit is a suggested speed under ideal circumstances. When it is raining and there is reduced visibility, obviously, the circumstances are not ideal. To be safe under these circumstances, you should likely travel under the posted speed limit.
Car accidents happen more frequently in the rain. Be mindful that rescuers and first responders may be delayed in responding to the scene because of the increased amount of accidents they are servicing, and also because the other vehicles may delay their travel time. If you have been in an accident during the rain and have a question, #phonecardone at 504-522-333 for free legal advice. Safe travels to all.