Floridians know better than most how quickly the weather can change. One moment it can be clear and a moment later it can be storming. Along with these seemingly constant weather fluctuations being incredibly inconvenient, they also put drivers at the risk of experiencing a sudden weather shift while on the road. Whether we see the rain coming or if it hits us by surprise, what matters most is how we react as drivers. Though it may seem arbitrary to review the safety measures for driving in the rain when we experience so much of it, data collected by DOT reports otherwise. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) 70% of weather-related automobile accidents occur on wet pavement and 46% occur during rainfall. Due to these revealing statistics, we wanted to take the time to review how to practice caution during rainfall and wet roads:
- Use Cation: in every situation, it is important to take the time to analyze your surroundings, particularly before getting on the road. If it is raining heavily consider waiting a moment before traveling. Taking time to allow the rain to subside provides opportunity for the roads to become a little safer before going out. Even if there is somewhere you need to be, it is not worth the risk of getting into an accident due to poor conditions.
- Use Wipers & Headlights: driving safely during the rain requires the proper accessories. Some of the most important being functional windshield wipers and headlights. These tools not only help you see the road, but they also help others see you. Rain impairs visibility and can make it difficult to see other cars on the road. So, to make it easier to both see and be seen make sure to utilize your headlights and windshield wipers.
- Maintain a Safe Distance: Wet roads can lead to poor traction for your tires. As a result, it could take longer for your car to come to a full stop. During ideal weather it is a common rule to leave 3 seconds worth of space for you to stop; this rule should be extended to 5 seconds when the pavement is slick.
- Watch out for Puddles: with rain comes puddles and with puddles comes the risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when water builds between the tire of your car and the road which results in uncontrollable sliding making it incredibly difficult to control your vehicle. Though the idea of hydroplaning is worrisome the risk of experiencing it can be lessened through keeping an eye out for puddles of water and driving slowly.
No matter what weather you are driving in always remember to stay safe. Implementing the proper protection on the road not only benefits you, but those around you as well. If we all do our part, we can make our roads a safer place in rain or in the sunshine. For more resources on how to drive in the rain follow the links below