We’ve seen a lot of rain already this spring, and the summer promises more of the same. Recent wet weather patterns have sparked concerns for drivers out on the road, as conditions can quickly change from dry to slick and wet, and visibility can be drastically reduced in the space of a few miles.
Although most drivers in Denver are used to heavy snows and poor driving conditions throughout the winter, many could use refreshers on the safest ways to navigate a summer rain storm. Below are some tips for maintaining safety on rainy roads:
- Wear a seatbelt. Drivers and their passengers should wear seatbelts at all times when the car is in motion. No matter what the conditions are on the roads, seatbelts are a key safety feature to prevent passengers and drivers from being ejected from the vehicle and sustaining serious injuries in the event of a crash.
- Drive slowly. Hydroplaning is one of the most serious dangers associated with driving in the rain. Hydroplaning occurs when water creates a thin, strong film on the surface of the road. Tires are unable to make contact with the road through this film and driving conditions can quickly become dangerous — the car can spin out of control or veer off the road with no influence from the driver. That said, drivers are encouraged to take things slow when it’s raining.
- Check your brakes, tires and windshield wipers. Vehicle maintenance is crucial for safety in any driving conditions, but especially in those requiring extra care and precautions. If you have poor brakes or tires, you may be unable to safely navigate wet or slippery roads. Poor traction can be deadly in these cases. If your windshield wipers are broken or shoddy, you will not be able to see clearly through your windshield or wipe away rain.
- Avoid cruise control. Cruise control features can make it easy for drivers to maintain steady speeds, but in rainy weather, drivers often need to reduce speed by lifting off the accelerator or pumping the brakes. Cruise control makes this impossible and could cause a loss of traction.
- Use the defroster. Your car’s defroster is invaluable in rainy weather, even though most people only utilize it when the weather is cold. Rain makes the windows in your car fog up and using the defroster can help speed up the de-fogging process, making it easier to maintain visibility while you’re on the road.
- Turn on your headlights. Headlights help other cars see you even if they are driving in sheets of rain. As soon as it starts to rain — even if it is the middle of the day — turn on your headlights to alert other drivers of your presence. According to the Colorado Driver Handbook, you should keep the low beams on and use fog lights if your vehicle has them.
- Drive cautiously. Quick lane changes and sudden stops may not be the best options on wet roads. Drivers should use extra caution and allow for longer stop and slowing times. They should also be prepared for changing conditions and spots of road that may be slippery and unsafe.
Safety is Key
The Denver personal injury attorneys at Levine Law urge all drivers to keep these tips in mind whenever it rains this summer and to drive safely according to the conditions around them. If you have been injured in a car accident as a result of unsafe or inappropriate driving for the conditions, contact a Levine Law attorney today to discuss your case.