Robert L. Sears, Accepting cases throughout WA State 253-286-7444 rob@searsinjurylaw.com

There are many types of weather and environmental conditions that can lead to driving being more dangerous:

For example, if there is a lot of ice covering the ground, then your tires are more likely to skid. If it is extremely windy outside and you are driving along a bridge, then you might be tipped over and almost fall off the edge. Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are a wide variety of possible weather conditions that can occur on any given day. Many of them make driving more difficult and hazardous. Around this time of year, it is often rainy. So, what measures can you take to remain a safe driver under these seasonal conditions? 

Although many local people are used to driving in the rain, it is still important to remember that it is one of the most difficult conditions to try and drive in. It is common knowledge that more accidents occur when the weather is rainy. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is almost a guarantee that you will have to drive in the rain eventually. Having some tips for navigating with reduced visibility and wet roads can help you know how to drive with safety and confidence next time you’re faced with rain. 

Before you head into any rainy weather conditions, you should double-check your car to make sure its equipment is working properly. You should check your windshield wipers, headlights, and tail-lights to make sure that they are working as intended. Another important thing that many drivers forget to check is that their tires have enough tread. If your tires are balding, then you may not have enough traction on a wet road. 

Another option that you have, if you are not confident or comfortable driving in the rain, is to simply postpone your commute or trip. The risk is simply not worth it if it isn’t necessary. You should just wait until the rainy conditions improve before you go driving if you don’t think that you can handle it. 

If you are driving in the rain:

You should turn on your car’s headlights. In Washington state, drivers must turn on their headlights during conditions of low visibility, which includes rainy weather conditions. Even if the rain is just sprinkling, you should still turn on your headlights. This will not only help you see better, but also the other drivers on the road. 

One rule that people often forget to follow is to slow down in rainy weather conditions. You should always adhere to the speed limit in the area where you are driving, but when it is raining you should drive slower than usual. Wet roads can be very dangerous to drive on. Vehicles have less traction on wet roads, and their reaction time is slower than normal. Because of this, it is important to slow down in rainy weather. 

You might think that this is just common sense, but a lot of people forget to turn on their windshield wipers in the rain. With most cars, you can adjust the speed of your car’s windshield wipers to clear the glass in conditions ranging from light rain to a torrential downpour. There are also products available that you can spray on your windshield that will keep rainwater from collecting on the surface of the glass. 

It is important not to brake heavily. If you start lifting your foot from the gas pedal earlier than you would in dry weather conditions, then you can slow your vehicle down without making a hard stop. You should never use cruise control in rainy conditions, because you need to have your careful attention focused on both the brake and gas pedals. 

When it is raining:

You should maintain a bigger gap in between your vehicle and the car ahead of you. Stopping becomes more difficult when it is raining, and so if you are too close to the car in front of you, you could easily rear-end them. A good rule-of-thumb is to keep the distance in between you and the car in front of you a few car-lengths long. 

When the weather is rainy and wet, the humidity levels in the environment also increase. Because of this, the windows inside your vehicle might fog up if you’re driving it in the rain. Although a lot of cars have an advanced ventilation system that can defog your windows. If you cannot see through your windows, you need to pull over to the side of the road until your windows are clear. Driving with reduced visibility from fogged-up windows is very dangerous. 

You should keep a lookout for standing water. If you drive through standing water, your car could start hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when the vehicle skids across the road’s surface because it loses traction. Hydroplaning can be very dangerous, and leads to many accidents each year. It is one of the most common causes of car accidents that happen in rainy weather, because the driver loses control of their vehicle. To avoid hydroplaning, you should try to drive around areas where water has pooled instead of through them. You can steer around the area or change lanes if need be. 

If you do end up hydroplaning, it can be a very scary situation. If you are hydroplaning, then you should try to remember to ease off of the gas. You should try to remain calm and lift your foot off of the accelerator pedal. You should turn the steering wheel in the direction that you want the front of your car to go. It is also important not to slam on your brakes or make sharp turns, because that can worsen the problem. 

Here at Sears Injury Law, we want our local community to stay as safe as possible. If you apply these safety precautions to your driving, then you can keep yourself, your passengers, and the other drivers on the road safer during rainy conditions. Many of these ways of reducing the danger of driving in the rain are easy to implement and lower the chances that you’ll get into an accident. 

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