Rain: A Significant Factor In Car Accidents
As East Tennessee prepares for another wet weekend, we look at how rain leads to car accidents. Inclement weather is present during 17% of fatal crashes, 20% of injury crashes, and 24% of property-damage-only crashes. Eleven percent of all accidents occur during rain, and seventeen percent occur while there are slick roadways (these numbers overlap).
Rainy weather and wet pavement reduces tire traction, visibility distance, and traffic predictability. Slower traffic may lead to increased congestion and delays, including disrupting timing for traffic signals. These issues are exacerbated when roadways become submerged. Flooding can lead to roads becoming impassable and also leads to debris flowing onto roadways.
There are a number of ways to decrease your likelihood of having a car accident in inclement weather. When driving in the rain or on slick roads, decrease speed and increase following distances to avoid collisions. Improve your visibility by using headlights and windshield wipers. Listen to traffic reports to avoid congested or closed roads, and turn around if you encounter flooding. Do not use cruise control, as this can make it more difficult to respond to changing conditions and can also cause your car to accelerate if you hydroplane or lose traction. Driving in inclement weather also requires greater attention than driving in ideal conditions, so take even more care to stay alert and avoid distractions.
In preparation for rain and slick roads, please check your windshield wipers, headlights, and tire tread to ensure that your car is best suited for these challenging driving conditions.
If you do find yourself involved in an accident during inclement weather, leave your lights on and try to get out of the roadway. Remain in your car if it is safe to do so, otherwise leave the roadway and maximize your visibility to avoid further collisions. It may take police and other emergency responders longer to reach you during inclement weather.