Contrary to popular belief, driving on a rainy day is much more dangerous than driving on a snowy one. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation:
“The vast majority of most weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement and during rainfall: 73% on wet pavement and 46% during rainfall. A much smaller percentage of weather-related crashes occur during winter conditions: 17% during snow or sleet, 13% occur on icy pavement and 14% of weather-related crashes take place on snowy or slushy pavement.”
Kentucky actually lands in the top five for the most dangerous states for driving in the rain, with a 1.51 chance of being in a crash per 100,000, according to safewise. And, with spring approaching, the amount of rain-related accidents rise.
Image Source: safewise.com
What causes car accidents in the rain?
Lack of traction on the roads
Rain makes roads and other surfaces wet and slippery. It also makes it hard (and dangerous) to try and stop quickly or to move out of the way from other vehicles. Roads are actually most dangerous in the first 10 minutes of a rain storm, so don’t think that just because the rain just started, the roads will be dry.
Rain can fall quicker than your windshields work, making it incredibly hard to see. Now, add 15 other vehicles around you who are experiencing the same thing, and it really becomes dangerous.
This is also a time where a lot of drivers realize that there windshield wipers are failing them. Make sure to regularly have your windshield wipers checked to ensure that you won’t be left trying to drive by looking through smeared glass.
If you do realize you can’t see well in front of you, pull over to the side of the road until the rain begins to slow down to avoid being a danger to yourself and others. Also, remember to continue to defog your windows.
Tips for driving in the rain:
Driving slower will help your tire traction improve and leave you less-prone to being in an accident that is caused by failure to break due to skidding or hydroplaning. While it’s an obvious tip, it is one that is often ignored.
Along with slowing down, it’s important to remember to leave more room for the car in front of you.
Avoid using cruise control
One way to help prevent hydroplaning is to not use cruise control.
“It’s important not to have the cruise control engaged in heavy rain due to a sudden acceleration problem. The vehicle will recognize the build-up of water as a slow down, and ask for more power. This may cause the car to shift to a lower gear and build even more water under the tires.” (Defensive Driving)
While cruise-control is a great feature that typically works great in dry conditions, it increases your chance of losing control of your vehicle in bad weather conditions. Not having cruise control on also may help you be able to respond to braking or slowing down easier and quicker.