The weather in the tropics can be unpredictable. Clear skies can give way to heavy downpour in a matter of minutes. Florida, the only state on continental America with a tropical climate, is occasionally pummeled by heavy rain and powerful thunderstorms. Rain always calls for extra caution among drivers. A failure to recognize the changes in road conditions increases the likelihood of injury through an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rain is a factor in 10% of all accidents and 46% of all weather related accidents.
There are two main reasons why driving in the rain is unsafe: slippery road surfaces and limited visibility.
Drivers should adhere to the basics by switching on their windshield wipers, turning on their headlights (this is required under Florida law) and maintaining situational awareness. However, even this is no guarantee that you won’t be caught in a crash. Ergo, it is important to employ defensive driving to reduce the probability of personal injury.
Speeding is never a good idea; but it is an even worse idea when it’s raining. You might be in a hurry to get to your destination but speeding in the rain places both you and other road users in danger. Situations that would be a hazard under normal road conditions are magnified when it rains.
Do not slam on the brakes. Wet roads can be slippery so all the braking will do is cause skidding which could see you rear ending one or more vehicles. Sudden braking also increases the chances of being rear ended yourself. If you are driving slowly, sudden braking may cause is a couple of fender benders at best and (if moving at considerable speed) a serious crash. To be safe, stay a comfortable distance behind the car ahead of you. That way, you car has a longer distance to come to a halt in an emergency.
In heavy rain, visibility is limited. You can only see so far. That will require you to rely on the vehicle ahead of you to know what to expect ahead. This could be large potholes covered in water (which can dent your tire rims) or pools of water (that could cause hydroplaning and subsequent loss of control if you drive too fast across them). Keeping tabs on the leader would also alert you if there is an accident or other traffic obstruction ahead.
Driving on the middle lanes is a general road safety precaution and not only applicable when it’s raining. The lanes towards the road edges are where one is more likely to find stalled cars and other road hazards. The middle lanes give you more options for maneuver if you happen on an object on the highway. When it rains, there is the added risk of pools of water collecting on the road edges. Driving too fast over large puddles of water reduces the vehicle’s traction and could cause a collision.
You cannot always avoid driving over large pools of water especially if it’s been raining for a while. When you do so, dry your brakes by braking slowly a couple of times thereafter. This eases out much of the water deposited on the brake pads and ensures the brakes are in decent condition if you run into an emergency up ahead.
If visibility is too poor and you find yourself struggling to see the road ahead, do not insist on driving. Pull over to the side of the raid and wait for the situation to improve. It’s better to be late to your destination than to not arrive at all.
Whenever it rains, the risk of road collisions rises significantly. If you are injured in a vehicle collision, you want to talk to a West Palm beach personal injury attorney. Your next course of legal action will depend on the circumstances under which the crash took place. By talking to an attorney from Fetterman & Associates, you will get guidance on what is the best path to follow as you pursue compensation from the at fault party. Get in touch with us today.
Also Read: Tips For Driving When Roadways Are Flooded
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