Most people assume that snowy winter weather poses the most serious driving hazards, but federal data has shown that rain is the biggest threat to highway safety and causes more fatalities than snow or ice in 39 out of 50 states, including Texas.
National weather teams report that this winter is expected to be especially wet in Texas because of a strong El Niño taking place in the Pacific Ocean. With that said, now is a good time to revisit a few safety tips for driving in wet weather, which may prevent you from being involved in an accident.
Get your vehicle ready ahead of time. Your car needs to be ready for wet weather, which means replacing windshield wipers that do not work properly, making sure your tires have the appropriate tread depth and pressure, checking to make sure all lights are functioning appropriately, and getting your brakes tested. All of these steps will help keep you safe when the roads are wet.
Use safe driving habits. It’s always important to wear a seatbelt and avoid distractions while driving, but this rings even truer when road conditions are wet. The Federal Highway Administration reports
that wet road conditions increase the risk of accidents because drivers cannot see as well when rain is falling, and the pavement becomes slippery when wet.
Give yourself additional time. When roads are wet or there is poor visibility, it’s important to travel slower than usual, which means giving yourself more time to get where you are going. AAA Texas says it’s also a good idea to avoid using cruise control when the roads are wet and avoid sudden breaking because it causes skidding. Instead, increase your following distance to at least 20 to 30 seconds.
Don’t drive in flash floods. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service reports that it only takes six inches of water to sweep away a car or person. If you are driving and come to a roadway that is covered in water, turn around. This is especially true at night when it is difficult to see how deep the water is or what the road conditions are.
If an accident does occur and people are injured, call for medical assistance right away. Next, make sure to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can protect your rights and interests. Insurance companies have their own best interests in mind, which is why you need someone fighting for yours.