In most parts of the country, April is the beginning of the rainy season. Although the April rains bring dormant trees and flowers back to life, the rain can also create hazardous driving conditions.
According to the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey completed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency responsible for compiling crash statistics throughout the U.S., rain or snow was the "critical pre-crash event" for approximately 4.4 percent of all collisions on the nation's roadways in 2008.
Two million injury collisions rock U.S. roads and freeways each year. That means that almost 90,000 people are injured in an average year as a result of a collision caused, at least in part, by dangerous road conditions resulting from rain or snow.
While you may not be able to control the weather, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your passengers during the rainy season, including:
- Replace windshield wipers - if you do not have a clear view of the roadway, you dramatically increase your chance of being involved in a collision.
- Check tires - bald and/or poorly inflated tires cannot grip the roadway, increasing your chance of losing control of the vehicle. To check your tire tread, insert a quarter upside down between the groves on a tire. If you can see above Washington's head, it is time for new tires.
- Use lights - turn on your headlights - not fog lights - when it starts to rain. Not only may this help you see better, but it will make your vehicle more visible to oncoming traffic. Also, be sure to always use turn signals to alert other vehicles of your intention to slow down and turn.
- Do not use cruise control - cruise control works fine on dry roadways; however, it can increase the possibility of losing control of the vehicle on wet pavement. Furthermore, cruise control limits a driver's options in an emergency.
- Keep your distance - tailgating is dangerous under the best of road conditions, but it is even more dangerous on a wet roadway, where you need more room to come to a safe stop.
- Slow down - the key to avoid hydroplaning is to slow down when there is water on the roadway. Hard braking and sharp turns should also be avoided when possible.
Keep these simple tips in mind this spring to significantly decrease your chance of being involved in a collision.
Please get in touch with our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys today for further information about your potential auto accident case. Construction happens frequently in the spring as well. Learn how to protect yourself: National Work Zone Awareness Week: Expect the Unexpected