Give your car and driving skills the third degree to drive safely in spring and summer showers. Gainesville accident attorney gives advice on driving on wet roads in order to avoid a crash.
Nearly 1.2 million accidents occur annually in wet-weather conditions, killing about 5,700 people and injuring half a million (NHTSA). In Florida, about 34,000 crashes occurred on wet road conditions last year, resulting in approximately 250 deaths and 19,000 injuries (Fla. Crash Reports, 2009).
I recommend these safety steps to avoid a wet-pavement accident:
- 1. Visibility is key. Replace burned out or broken headlights, brake lights, taillights, and turn signals, as well as windshield wipers that are streaking or chattering.
- 2. Riding on your tires. Tires may be the single most important safety component when driving in wet weather-and there’s a lot riding on them. Check tire tread depth, pressure and inflation, and alignment. Inspect your tires for uneven or excessive wear.
- 3. Avoid Cruise Control. In a downpour, stay away from the cruise control feature. To prevent loss of traction, slowly take your foot off the accelerator to slow down, instead of using the brake. Sudden braking can cause skidding, sliding, or hydroplaning. When using cruise control in wet conditions, a driver doesn’t have the option of taking their foot off the gas and are, instead, forced to use the brake. While cruise control may work great in dry conditions, avoid this feature in wet weather.
- 4. Slow Down and Increase Space. It sounds like a no-brainer, but with our fast-paced lifestyle, it’s easy to forget. A major danger here is hydroplaning, or losing contact with the road. In wet weather, our tires work hard to displace water. With only 1/12th of an inch of water on the road, tires displace as much as a gallon per minute. Driving at only 35 mph, even new tires can lose contact with the road.
- 5. Skidding-don’t panic. If you find yourself hydroplaning or skidding, stay calm and continue to steer in the direction you want the car to go. Avoid slamming on the brakes or major steering maneuvers, which can worsen a skid.
- 6. Put down the phone. Distracted driving and texting, the equivalent of drunk driving, are major public safety hazards. Please don’t add distracted driving to those risks already posed by driving in a summer downpour.
Remember, the first 10 minutes of a rain shower or downpour is the most dangerous, since oil and debris remain on the road, before washing away.
For more information on this important topic:
Hello, I am Jeffrey Meldon. As an accident attorney, I strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of an accident or in the recovery from one.
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