Statistics show that there are approximately 6 million auto accidents in the US each year, leading to tens of thousands of annual deaths and injuries. The fallout from these accidents can be devastating, as lives are lost and families are broken, and even the most minor of accidents can lead to severe physical and mental trauma for those involved, as well as legal and financial troubles too.
There are many potential causes for these accidents. They can be caused by people driving under the influence, for example, or failing to follow the rules of the road. They may also be triggered by road users giving in to road rage or letting themselves get distracted and failing to notice hazards around them.
Another major cause of traffic accidents is the weather. Storms, snow, and even simple rain can massively increase your risks of being in an accident. According to Autojusticeattorney.com, rain is the deadliest weather hazard for drivers of them all, leading to more serious accidents on an annual basis than any other type of weather.
When it rains, visibility can be decreased, roads can become slippery, hazards can be harder to spot, brake times can be extended, and accidents are overall far more likely to happen. For these reasons, it’s important for every driver to know how to react when the rain starts to fall and what steps to take in order to keep themselves and their passengers safe.
Wait if Possible
Statistics show that rain is directly responsible for over 2,000 deaths and more than 200,000 auto accident injuries on American roads each and every year. Put simply, driving in wet conditions is dangerous, so the first and most obvious tip we can provide is that if at all possible, you should avoid driving during heavy rains and wait it out if you can.
Often, rain showers can pass quite quickly, so if you don’t need to be somewhere quite urgently, you may be able to simply delay your journey by a little while and then head out when it’s dry and safer.
One of the most important things to know about driving in rain is that it will take much longer for your vehicle to slow down and come to a stop on a wet road than it would on a dry one. This is because of basic physics, as the friction on wet roads is reduced, making it harder for the car to effectively halt.
You need to take this into account when driving in the rain. If you’re approaching a red light or a stop sign, you’ll need to slow down earlier than you usually would, applying gentle pressure on the brake to avoid any sudden skids or slips.
Keep Your Distance
Following on from the previous point, it’s important to keep more distance between your own vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you when driving in wet and rainy conditions too. This is because of the extended brake times.
If a vehicle in front of you suddenly stops, you’ll need to react quickly and apply the brakes on your own car to stop behind them. Because brake times are longer in wet conditions, you need that extra distance to let you brake safely, rather than driving right into the back of another car.
In general, it’s wise to try and keep your speeds a little lower than usual when driving in the rain. Experts recommend driving at least 5-10 mph slower than usual when it’s raining, and you may want to reduce your speeds even more, depending on the severity of the conditions.
Why is this? Well, as explained throughout the guide, rain reduces visibility and increases brake times. Driving more slowly lets you get a better view of the scenes around you, spotting upcoming hazards and having more time to react to them. If you’re going too fast and suddenly need to stop, the longer brake times and slippy roads could cause an accident.
This is a useful tip to bear in mind even when the sun is shining and the roads are dry, as distractions can make it much more likely for you to end up in an accident, leading to thousands of deaths and many injuries per year on American roads.
Things like phones, food, drinks, in-car entertainment systems, pets, and other passengers can all count as distractions, taking your attention and focus away from the road itself and potentially causing a lot of trouble. When driving in the rain, never attempt to use your phone and keep your eyes on the road at all times.
Use Your Wipers and Headlights
One of the biggest issues the rain causes is reduced visibility. Whether it’s a simple shower or a heavy downpour, rain can make it a lot harder to see clearly out of your windscreen. It may even become quite difficult to see more than a few feet in front of your vehicle in very heavy rain, which makes the situation exceptionally dangerous for drivers.
This is where your wipers and headlights can prove to be genuine life-savers. Wipers help to keep the windshield clear of water and provide some much-needed visibility, while lights help to brighten up the road ahead of you, as well as making your car more visible to other road users too.
Pull Over if Necessary
Another useful tip to bear in mind when driving in the rain is that, if it gets too bad, you can always find a spot to safely pull over and wait it out. If you find yourself driving and a storm suddenly starts, don’t feel like you need to keep going at all costs.
You can find a safe place to stop your car and wait a little while for the rain to pass. This is often the best course of action, especially during very heavy rainfall where visibility is extremely low.
The rain brings new risks and threats to drivers, but by following these tips and keeping your focus on the road ahead, you’ll be able to stay safe and navigate wet roads as safely as possible.