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Slippery When Wet

It may seem to be a completely obvious statement to make, but roads are slippery when wet. Essentially, when it rains, there is a layer of water between the tires of your vehicle and the road which reduces the friction. This cause your car to have less grip, increases stopping distances and occasionally causes hydroplaning.[1] Hydroplaning or aqua planning occurs when there is more water on the road than your tires can scatter. It is characterized by the floating feeling and the complete loss of control of the vehicle even if only for a split second. Hydroplaning is most common in the first few minutes of a rain because the rain will mix with the oil residue on the road and make the danger of hydroplaning more pronounced.

Rain is a Factor in Thousands of Accidents Each Year

Every year there are thousands of accidents and injuries in which rain is a contributing factor. In Florida, especially in the St. Petersburg / Tampa / Clearwater area, rain is a contributing factor in many accidents because of the frequent afternoon summer showers we enjoy. In my opinion, many drivers seem to take unnecessary risks in the rain. Motorists seem to hesitate and then pull into the path of oncoming traffic with greater frequency than when the roads are dry. This just may just be my perception, but I swear it is true. Many motorists refuse to reduce their speed in the rain and become impatient with drivers that do reduce their speed. Many accidents in the rain could be avoided with better driving techniques.

How to Drive in the Rain

Driving in the rain requires patience and caution because rain makes the driving conditions hazardous and, according to my theory, makes other drivers take unnecessary risks. Here is a list of tips that will enable you to safely deal with rainy conditions.

1. Slippery When Wet The danger of Hydroplaning is real. Slowing down allows your tires to better scatter the water on the road. Standing water can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. Avoid puddles. Remember roads are constructed with the highpoint in the center and the low point along the shoulders. Water will collect in areas closest to the shoulder. Utilize the center of the road. Properly maintain your tires because bald tires do not scatter water effectively. Avoid hard braking. When on the interstate use the tire tracks of the trucks as a guide. They are heavy and disburse water from the road.
2. Decreased Visibility Always have good windshield wipers on your car. Worn out wiper blades will not remove the water from your window and will actually smear dirt and grime on the windshield making it impossible to see. Use your defroster as the windows tend to fog up in rainy conditions. Also, and this statement seems absurd as it write it, if your visibility is near zero – get off the road and wait until the rain slows.
3. Large Areas of Standing Water Avoid large puddles. It is sometimes impossible to judge their depth. It should be a huge red flag when other cars and trucks have stalled in the puddle, but it never fails to amaze me when I see more cars follow behind stalled cars and continue right into these hazards. If the water covers your tail pipe, the car will stall and you will get stuck.
4. Turn on Your Headlights If your windshield wipers on, your headlights should be on. This will make you more visible to other drivers.
5. Turn Off Your Cruise Control It is dangerous to drive with your cruise control on during a rain. The cruise control will delay your response time if your car hydroplanes.
6. Do Not Take Unnecessary Risks Allow more space for oncoming traffic when pulling onto the road. Remember, the stopping distances are increased when it is raining.
7. Watch Out for Drivers Who Take Unnecessary Risks Assume that the driver pulling out of the parking lot is going to pull out in front of you and prepare accordingly.

Contact Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you in the privacy of your own home.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707


[1] http://www.safemotorist.com/articles/hydroplaning_basics.aspx

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio