Wet weather is one of the most significant hazards you will encounter while driving. Rain can reduce visibility, make the road slippery and contribute to distraction. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 22 percent of car accidents every year are caused by weather conditions; 72 percent of those occur when the weather is wet. While you cannot always avoid venturing out on wet roads, there are a few precautions you can take to decrease your risk of accidents.
Check your car
The first step in staying safe on the road begins before you get in the car. Check your vehicle to make sure that it is in optimal driving condition. Rain cuts down on visibility, so test your headlights, taillights, turn signals and brake lights. You want other drivers to see your car at all times. Check your windshield wipers as well. When the pavement is wet, wiping out can be a serious risk. Keeping your tires in good condition will help you maintain traction even on slippery roads. Check your tire treads and pressure regularly. If your treads are worn down or any of your tires (spare included) are losing pressure, fix these problems as soon as possible.
Maintain a slow and steady speed. Even a very small amount of water on the road can create a film that can cause cars to hydroplane and drivers to lose control. Abrupt changes in speed can also trigger hydroplaning and skidding on a wet surface. Keep in mind that other drivers also run the risk of suddenly losing control. Due to this and the reduced visibility, it is best to keep a greater distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you than you normally would. Slow down in advance of lights or intersections because you do not want to be forced to turn or stop abruptly.
If you feel that your car is beginning to skid, keep calm and make sure that you do not lose further control. Do not brake hard, because the momentum of that action will send the car even further out of control. Keep steering in the direction you were traveling in, and slow down gradually.
Avoid cruise control
Cruise control can be a helpful feature, but you should avoid using it when it is raining. You want to maintain total control of your vehicle and be ready to respond to changing conditions right away. Cruise control can also stop you from reducing speed effectively.
These tips can go a long way to keeping you safe on the road. If you do suffer a car accident, speak with an experienced attorney about your future options.