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Safety Tips for Driving in Heavy Rain

By Butler Prather LLP on May 27, 2019

It is not always possible to avoid driving in bad weather, such as fog, snow, or heavy rain. Rainstorms in Georgia are especially common in the springtime, with daily showers that can catch drivers unaware. Learning how to operate your vehicle safely in a heavy rainstorm is critical if you wish to avoid car accidents while driving in Georgia.

Check Your Equipment Before Driving

Before you start a car trip, prepare for a potential storm by checking your vehicle’s windshield wipers and washer fluid. Your wipers should not show signs of wear and tear, such as cracked rubber. They should work properly and leave your windshield free and clear. Refill your windshield wiper fluid, if necessary. Find a fluid with additives that repel rain for the best visibility while driving in storms.

Check to make sure all your lights are working, so that other drivers will be able to see you in heavy rain. Clean your headlights as well. Finally, check your tires. Your tires are the most important elements in a storm. If you notice bald or worn tires, they could compromise your safety on wet streets. Do not drive a vehicle with bald tires until you can get them replaced.

Slow Down

If a heavy rain hits while you are in the car, remain calm and reduce your speed. Do not slam on the brakes, as this could cause your vehicle to hydroplane on standing water. Instead, take your foot of the gas and gradually reduce your speed. Keep in mind that speed limits are only accurate when it is safe to travel at that speed. In a heavy rain, the maximum safe speed could be considerably lower than the posted limit.

Slowing down can help you remain in control of your vehicle, avoid hydroplaning, and stop in time to hit the vehicle in front of you. On a wet roadway, it can take twice as much distance for a vehicle to stop than in dry conditions. Slowing down on slippery roads can give you enough time to press the brakes without having to slam on them.

Be Extra Careful in the First 10 Minutes

It is true that the roads are most dangerous in the first 10 minutes after it starts to rain. The reason is because the rainwater mixes with traces of oil vehicles have left on the roadway. This creates a slick film on the asphalt in the first 10 minutes, before the rain washes it away. Be extra careful in the first 10 minutes of a storm, as the roads could be extremely slippery. Avoid making sharp turns or hard stops, as this could cause your vehicle to hydroplane out of control.

Do Not Turn on Your Hazard Lights

Many drivers think turning on their hazards is a smart safety precaution in heavy rainfall. Police in Georgia, however, warn drivers that using hazards while driving can confuse driver sand reduce the ability to see brake lights. Hazard lights typically signal that a vehicle is stopped. If the car is still moving, therefore, following drivers may get confused and try to pass the vehicle.  Flashing lights also affect the ability to see brake lights and turn signals. This could increase the risk of collision during a storm rather than decrease the risk. When in doubt about driving in the rain, do your best to stay home.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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