Driving when it is raining may seem like a normal part of life for anyone commuting to work, school, or elsewhere. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t really know the risks associated with driving in the rain, or take adequate precautions to prevent accidents. Here is what drivers in Southern California (and anywhere else really) need to know about the risks of driving in the rain, and some tips for staying safe.
Risks of Driving in the Rain
The primary risks of driving in the rain include:
- Wet Roads – According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), every year, over 950,000 auto accidents are caused by wet roads. These accidents cause an estimated 4,700 deaths, and 384,000 injuries.
- Visibility – Heavy rain can seriously impact your visibility. The Federal Highway Administration estimated in 2016 that around 73 percent of weather-related auto accidents happened during rainfall.
- Hydroplaning – Hydroplaning is an event that happens when the tires on your car cannot move water out of the way fast enough, causing a water barrier between tires and the road. This can prevent braking and impact control.
- Slippery Roads – Slick roads are a common risk during rainfall as oils on the road are brought to the surface.
Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain
Some of the risks may be unavoidable, but drivers can take precautions that will reduce the risk of an auto accident occurring. Here are some tips for driving safely in the rain:
- Slow down
- Make sure headlights work and are turned on
- Avoid distractions that can take your eyes off the road
- Avoid using cruise control
- Allow more space between you and other vehicles
- Remember not to drive subconsciously. In poor weather conditions, you need to be alert to changes and variables.