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Rain on windshield, car in front


Jeff Martin Feb. 4, 2022

Rain has the power to provide life and replenishment to people and the world around them. It also has the power to bring out the worst driver in everybody. To help you avoid motor vehicle accidents in rainy weather — and, as a result, an unnecessary conversation with your insurance provider — here's a guide to improving your driving through rain and rain-related obstacles.

Hazards of Driving Through Rain

It's helpful to understand that driving through the rain is hazardous for several reasons and to understand what those reasons are. Water on the road can cause slick conditions when it mixes with dirt and oil. It can also cause your car to hydroplane because of a lack of friction between the tires and road.

To steer clear of these problems, it's best to simply delay your travel plans. According to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: rain, snow, and ice raise the risk of a fatal car accident by 34%. But if you can't avoid travel altogether, knowing the dangers and finding a way to avoid those instead is key.

Tips for Driving in the Rain

When driving in the rain, you should follow these safety tips:

1. Double-check your vehicle's equipment. 

Tires, headlights, taillights, and windshield wipers are the primary suspects to check before heading to your destination. Worn tires will have severely less threading and prevent your car from gaining sufficient friction when turning, braking, or accelerating. These problems are a symptom of hydroplaning and can't be solved, but the effects can be diminished by replacing your tires every six years or every 50,000 miles.

Visibility is the next issue to tackle, as rainy days are usually accompanied by darker skies and foggy or wet windshields, both of which dramatically reduce visibility for yourself and other drivers. Regularly checking windshield wipers and adjusting the speed for rain volume will keep your windshield free of water. Furthermore, turning on your headlights and tail lights will allow other drivers to find the four corners of your vehicle and prevent any collisions when conditions are dim.

2. Drive with more caution. 

Reaction times for everybody on the road are almost always impacted by driving conditions. This means that more space should be present between cars to ensure all drivers' safety. According to the National Safety Council, a good rule of thumb is to stay five seconds behind the car in front of you. If you're the car upfront, know that speed limits for streets and highways are for perfect driving conditions on perfect roads, so when driving conditions and roads are less than perfect, slowing down is critically important. It's also important to never use cruise control when conditions are wet, as it can cause drivers to lose control when trying to regain traction after hydroplaning.

3. Be mindful of hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning occurs when a car loses friction on the road and starts to "ski" on a thin layer of water. Due to your car floating on water, breaking and turning may become significantly harder or even impossible until traction is regained. The best preventative measures to avoid hydroplaning are simply to drive slow and maintain proper tire pressure. However, knowing how to deal with hydroplaning could be the difference between getting into an accident and regaining control. 

At the first sign of hydroplaning, you should take your foot off the gas and try to gently steer yourself in the direction you want to travel. Any sudden moves trying to immediately swerve yourself out of hydroplaning could cause the vehicle to lose all control and begin spinning. With some smooth, occasional braking, the car should begin to regain control as its speed is continually lowered.

If it begins raining while you're driving, it's easy to become nervous — especially as a new driver. Know the risks of driving through the rain and how to deal with any problems that may arise when doing so. That said, if you've been involved in an accident after driving in rainy weather, get in touch with our team at Jeff Martin Law today.