How to Stay Safe on Wet Roads
Oregon has a widely varied climate, which definitely affects the amount of rain that any particular driver might expect to encounter. That said, it’s probably fair to say that most Oregonians have seen more than their fair share of precipitation. Thus, it’s essential to learn and practice behaviors designed to increase safety in wet weather conditions.
In this article, we will discuss a number of tips for staying safe on wet roads.
The Facts on Safety and Wet Weather Driving
According to the Federal Highway Administration (part of the U.S. Department of Transportation), the United States experiences almost 5.9 million motor vehicle crashes every year. The Administration further reports that more than 1.2 million of the accidents, approximately 21 percent, are related to weather conditions. Weather-related crashes cause a yearly average of 5,376 fatalities and 418,005 personal injuries.
While these statistics include multiple types of bad weather, such as rain, fog, snow, and wind, the vast majority of accidents are related to rain and/or wet roads.
Tips for Driving in Wet Weather
There’s no doubt that poor weather profoundly affects driving. After all, bad weather can limit the abilities of both drivers and their vehicles. For drivers, it can be hard to see in inclement weather. Plus, many drivers lack advanced skills for handling weather-related issues. Vehicles themselves often become less maneuverable and may have a harder time maintaining contact with the road.
With that in mind, we’ll review some important tips.
- Tire Safety – Good tires are essential for maintaining contact with the road. Make sure that tires always have plenty of tread depth so that water can be channeled, allowing the tire to keep good contact with the road. Otherwise, you can hydroplane and lose control of the vehicle. Also, make sure that tires are always properly inflated.
- Windshield Wiper Safety – Obviously, we can’t drive safely if we can’t see what’s in front of us. Unfortunately, most of us have experienced streaky windshields or a film of water that doesn’t even get wiped at all. These are often the results of improperly functioning wiper blades or frames. Make sure that windshield wipers are in good condition with properly functioning wiper blades.
- Exercise Caution with Pooling Water – Avoid pooling/puddled water when you can, and slow down if it can’t be avoided. Do not enter water if you cannot see the ground at the bottom or if the water rises to the bottom of the car. Otherwise, you risk being swept away.
- Slow Down – This is a cardinal rule for driving in bad weather. You can better control your car at slower speeds, and you have more time to react to conditions.
- Maintain a Safe Distance from Other Vehicles - Not only is weather unpredictable, but so is the way other drivers will handle it. Maintaining plenty of extra space helps keep everyone safer from unexpected hydroplaning, braking, and other events that often accompany bad weather.
- Don’t Use Cruise Control - Bad weather is not the time for convenience. You need to have both hands on the steering wheel and be ready to manually adjust your speed at every moment.
- Handling Skids - If you do start to skid, avoid hard braking and steer into the direction the car is trying to go. Try to stay calm and control the skid.
- Turn On Your Lights - By turning on your headlights, you can see the road better and others can better see you.
Call with Questions
Being prepared for bad weather conditions keeps you, as well as all those around you, safer. Unfortunately, there will always be drivers who ignore bad weather conditions and cause automobile accidents. If you are injured in a car crash due to the negligence of another driver, we know you will probably have questions about your rights and how to proceed in the legal system. Call our office and we will gladly answer these questions for you.
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield have spent their careers ensuring that wrongdoers are held accountable for their actions. It’s the best way we know to help make Oregon safer for all of us.