We’ve given you tips on getting ready for winter weather and steeling yourself for driving in the snow, but did you know that a greater number of crashes occur at night and in rainy weather? Aaron Woods and his firm Woods Law KC specialize in personal injury (in particular vehicle collisions) – according to Woods Law, the NHTSA data gathered on car crashes shows that in 2014, 2,037 fatal crashes occurred during the rain, as opposed to the 626 that took place during snowy conditions. It is also worth noting that 15,280 of the total 29,989 fatal crashes happened in the hours from 6PM to 6AM, when it is more likely to be dark outside.
With that in mind, we’d like to offer you some valuable pieces of advice on operating your car in dark and wet conditions that might just save you from the dangers of a severe accident. The lawyers for personal injury cases in Houston can help get justice to the victims.
If you know it’s going to be raining; you should take adequate steps to prepare for the poor conditions: adjust your seat so that you are in an advantageous position to make precise movements. You should be no closer than 10 inches from the steering wheel and have a good look at the road ahead. Your elbows should be slightly bent (this will reduce the chance of injury to your extremities in the event of an accident). Buckle up, and make sure you are in the right frame of mind to drive (alert, cautious, not upset). General tips for driving in the rain include:
Turn on your lights and wipers – visibility will be reduced, so your lights are a good way to help you see and help other motorists see you. Your wipers as well are essential for visibility. They’ll prevent water from accumulating and distorting your vision. If they are old and split, however, they won’t do you much good. Try having your wipers replaced yearly to keep them in good shape.
When in motion, take it slow – stopping in wet weather is more challenging and will take longer. You should avoid over-applying the brake, and where feasible take your foot off of the gas to slow down.
Avoid larger vehicles – Big trucks and buses can create sprays of water that will kill your ability to see. You should avoid large vehicles and instead drive in the tracks of another car in front of you. Don’t follow too closely, though, and watch out for brake lights intently. If you do have to pass another vehicle, make sure you do it swiftly and calmly.
You should stick to the middle lanes – whenever possible, avoid the outside lanes as water can pool up in these locations. If you do have to drive through water, do so slowly and carefully. If you can’t see the bottom of the water you are driving through, don’t drive through it (you could run the risk of having your car swept away).
If you do stall in the water – you’ll likely need to leave the car and get assistance. Have someone tow you out, then get your car checked for any damage the water might have caused.
Know when to stop – when rain gets too heavy, it can be too much to handle for your wiper blades. At this point, your level of visibility will be so low that your most prudent option is to pull off the road to a safe area and wait for the rain to subside before continuing.
Deal with foggy windows immediately – These can also impair vision. Rain can cause your windows to fog up quickly, engage your defrosters and make sure adequate airflow is getting to the windows to demist them quickly.
If you happen to skid – This is one of the scariest parts of driving in the rain, but you should remember not to panic. Ease off the gas and steer into the skid. If you have an ABS system, apply the brake as you do so. You can avoid skids by driving carefully, and slowing gently before you enter a curve.
It can be a frightening prospect, but by staying calm and collected, driving carefully, and keeping your wits about you, it’s possible to avoid the pitfalls of driving when it is dark or wet outside. Stay safe when out on the roads.