More than one million weather-related traffic accidents occur each year in the United States. In an average year, those wrecks result in more than 7,000 deaths and send between 500,000 and 600,000 people to hospitals for the treatment of injuries.
As shocking as those numbers may seem, perhaps the most surprising finding to emerge out of a Federal Highway Safety Administration analysis of a decade’s worth of crash data from 2007 to 2016 is that more serious collision occur when it rains than when it snows or when roads ice over. This makes understanding how to operate safely when rain starts falling essential for all drivers.
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Driving safely in the rain starts with ensuring that your car tires are properly inflated and in good condition. Any amount of water on the pavement reduces the grip of tires. The likelihood of slipping, spinning out or hydroplaning increases when tires are underinflated or bald.
Replacing worn wiper blades is also imperative, as is making sure your defroster works properly. Poor visibility sets the stage for a crash.
While driving through a shower or storm, turn on your headlights, increase the distance between your car and the vehicle ahead of you, and slow down. Stopping on wet pavement takes more time. Additionally, even if you feel like you can see clearly, other drivers may not be able to spot your car. Switch on your lights for the sake of everyone else on the road.
Every crash cannot be avoided, especially when some other driver fails to keep their car in good repair or decides not to take measures to reduce dangers created by bad weather. But you can, and should, take responsibility for making driving in the rain as safe as possible. The life you save by doing something as simple as traveling a little below the posted speed limit could be your own.