April Showers Bring More than Flowers—Often Bring a Spike in Auto Accidents

Rain Increases Auto AccidentsSpring is here…the colors are splashed all across the state of Texas. With the warm temperatures, though, come the warm spring rains, necessary to give all the budding life a good start. But those showers can also wreak havoc for motorists, in many ways. Whether it’s a deluge that brings your visibility down to next to nothing, or water on the road, or the fog that often accompanies a change in weather, conditions can be tricky…estimates are that the risk of being in a motor vehicle accident can double or triple when roadways become wet.

It’s important to understand, too, that it’s not just on the freeways and superhighways where the danger lies. Most safety experts will tell you that you can start to hydroplane even at relatively slow speeds. And when there’s precipitation on the ground, it’s not enough to avoid going over the posted speed limit. If the signs say you shouldn’t exceed 30 miles per hour, you may want to bring it down to 20 or even slower.

Ways to Stay Safe in Rainy Weather

When other motorists fail to adjust their driving to inclement conditions, you can be at risk, regardless of how defensively you drive. Nonetheless, there are certain measures you can employ to minimize your risk of being involved in a weather-related motor vehicle accident:

  • Don’t drive through puddles—If at all possible, go around any puddles or pooled water on the roads. That’s where you’ll be at the greatest risk of hydroplaning, where the water actually creates a membrane between your car and the road. If, however, you start to hydroplane, take your foot off the accelerator until you start to get traction. You may even need to tap the brake, but don’t slam on the brakes. There’s another good reason, though, to avoid puddles—when you drive through them, you can splash water on your car and on other motorists, making it difficult for you or them to see the road.
  • Turn your headlights on—This is the best chance you have of being seen by other motorists—one of the common complaints after many car accidents is that one of the motorists could not be seen by the other. In most states, the law requires you to turn your lights on during a rainstorm.
  • Be willing to arrive a little late to be safe—If it’s raining, reduce your speed by about 20%. You may still hydroplane, but you’ll have more time to react.
  • Feather or tap the brakes—Be prepared to just touch the brakes, but to do it a number of times. This is an effective way to slow down in rain or on icy or snowy roads.
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