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What Are Safety Tips for Driving in the Rain?

Published: Sep 26, 2023 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm Advocate for Those Injured in Weather-Related Car Crashes

You cannot control the weather, but you can control how your vehicle reacts while driving in the rain.  Wet roads and rainy conditions are perhaps the most hazardous situations a driver can encounter.  In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 46 percent of weather-specific car accidents are caused by rain, and wet pavement causes almost 70 percent of weather-specific crashes.  Furthermore, rain causes over 10 percent of all vehicle accidents in the United States.

Heavy downpours and flood conditions are dangerous as well. Not only should you prepare for driving on wet surfaces when it is raining, but you should also be aware of flooded roads.

Here are some tips to help you remain safe behind the wheel when the conditions are not ideal:

  • Keep your car in good condition: Many aspects of your vehicle will keep you safe if you are driving in the rain, but only when they are in good condition. Keep an eye on your tires and brakes year-round and have them serviced when necessary.  They are vital to maintaining control of your car and stopping when necessary.  Ensure your windshield and wipers are in good condition; it can get dangerous if you drive with low visibility caused by worn wiper blades or a dirty windshield.
  • Slow down: A good rule of thumb when driving in the rain is to leave at least five seconds of the following distance between yourself and the car in front of you. You usually leave two to three seconds of the following distance in normal conditions.  Slowing down helps you keep control of the car and avoids hydroplaning, which is what your tires do when they lose control over a thin sheet of water.  Do not feel pressured to drive within or below the speed limit, as it is reasonable to slow down to maintain control of your car, especially while in a turn.
  • Avoid cruise control: Although it may seem like a convenient feature, using your cruise control is dangerous in the rain. You would slow down by releasing the accelerator to regain traction in a car you have lost control of.  However, when cruise control is active, the accelerator still tries to maintain the set speed, causing a loss of control.
  • If your car skids: If you feel your vehicle start to skid or slip in wet conditions, you want to try to remain as calm as possible, lightly take your foot off the gas, and continue to steer and look in the direction you want. Avoid slamming on your brakes, remain calm, and you should regain control soon enough.
  • Avoid flood areas: If you approach a road and cannot see the road markings because of flood water, the safest thing you can do is to turn around and find another route. Do not attempt to drive through if you think it is deeper than a few inches or if the water is moving because you can lose control of your car in as few as 3 inches of water.  You can be swept away in as little as 6 inches of moving water.  You also risk your vehicle stalling out, leaving you stranded in the water, and risking yourself and your passengers drowning.

Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm Advocate for Those Injured in Weather-Related Car Crashes

Even if the weather is less than ideal, you still have a duty to yourself and others to maintain control of your vehicle and to drive safely. Our Edwardsville car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm can help after a weather-related collision.  Call 618-277-3644 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients in St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.