Sep 6

Safety Reminders and Tips For Driving In The Rain

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driving in the rainWith Hurricane Irma marching her way towards Tampa Bay, there will be more and more cars on the road during wet conditions. To prevent a car accident whiling in the rain, it is important that drivers are prepared to react to situations that can be unique to driving in the rain. This article highlights some of the recommendations provided by AAA.

Why Driving in the Rain is More Dangerous

Your vehicle’s grip on the road depends upon a small area of contact where the tires meet the road surface — the tire’s footprint. When the road is wet and/or your tires are improperly maintained, your tire’s footprint can be diminished.

When driving in water just one-twelfth of an inch deep, each of your tires has to displace one gallon of water per second. Adequate, full tread allows water to escape from under the tires. However, low tire pressure allows the tread to squeeze together, narrowing the tread channels, and reduces the tire’s ability to wipe or channel away water. That is why it is important that your check your tires when you are filling up your gas tank in preparation of Hurricane Irma. Driving in the rain with low tire pressure simply increases your chances of being involved in a car accident.

Recognizing Hydroplaning

Even a brand new tire will lose some footprint contact at speeds as low as 35 mph. At 60 mph, water may completely separate the tire from the road and cause hydroplaning. To reduce chances of hydroplaning, slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you.

Avoid Using Cruise Control While Driving in the Rain

Using cruise control while driving in the rain increases the chance of losing control of your vehicle. To prevent loss of traction, you may need to reduce your speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is engaged. Avoiding using cruise control will allow you more options to choose from when responding to a potential loss-of-traction situation, thus maximizing your safety.

Regaining Control in a Skid

Even the best drivers can experience skidding while driving in the rain. This typically happens when the driver loses traction and the wheels spin or lock, usually when braking, cornering or accelerating. AAA reminds us that effective skid-control maneuvers — and a calm approach — will help you regain control.

If the rear wheels lose traction, resulting in an oversteering situation, use these steps to regain control:

  1. Continue to look at your path of travel down the road.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
  3. Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although hitting the brakes is a typical response, slamming the brakes will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control.
  4. When the rear wheels stop skidding, continue to steer to avoid a rear-wheel skid in the opposite direction.

Front-wheel skids are caused by too much speed in a corner. When the front wheels lose traction, you lose steering ability. While this sounds dangerous, front wheel skids are easier to correct, but drivers must be cautious not to transition into an oversteering situation. Here is AAA’s recommendations when involved in a front wheel skid while driving in the rain:

  1. Continue to look where you want to go.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
  3. Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although hitting the brakes is a typical response, slamming the brakes will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control.
  4. Wait for the front wheels to grip the road again. As soon as traction returns, the vehicle will start to steer again.
  5. When the front wheels have regained their grip, steer the wheels gently in the desired direction of travel.

Be safe as Hurricane Irma approaches the Tampa Bay area and the rest of Florida. Refresh yourself on these safety tips of driving in the rain so you can better prevent being involved in a car accident.

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Personal Injury Attorney Matthew E. Noyes helps clients with a permanent injury after car accidentPersonal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. He is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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