When Is Driving in the Rain Most Dangerous?

When Is Driving in the Rain Most Dangerous?

Drivers face an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents in rainy weather due to wet roads and reduced visibility. Wet roads may reduce the amount of friction between the tires and surfaces, making it difficult for the driver to control the vehicle.

There is also an increased risk of accidents when a section of a road is covered or submerged in water. Drivers should, therefore, exercise caution or adopt proactive measures for safe navigation during rainy conditions.

New Mexico laws allow injured victims to obtain compensation from the at-fault party that caused an accident. You should work with a trusted New Mexico car accident attorney for legal advice and to hold the liable party accountable.

When Is Driving in the Rain Most Dangerous?

Safety authorities and activists recommend road users take precautions when it starts raining. However, drivers wonder about the most dangerous time to drive during rain. Immediately when it starts raining, road users face an increased risk of a crash.

In rain, drivers face the following risks:

Reduced Visibility

All rain affects the driver’s central or peripheral vision. Rain also reduces the effectiveness of windshield wipers, blocking the driver’s central vision. Rain also causes the headlight beams to scatter, affecting their performance.

Reduced visibility during rain makes it difficult to spot cars, road signs, and potential hazards, increasing the risk of car accidents.

Hydroplaning or Aquaplaning

Aquaplaning, or hydroplaning, is a dangerous driving condition present during rainy conditions. It occurs when water causes a vehicle to lose contact with the road surface. Hydroplaning is an indication you’ve lost all traction.

As a result, drivers may experience a loss of control, which makes it challenging to steer or brake effectively. Vehicles are susceptible to hydroplaning at high speeds, increasing the importance of slowing down during rainy conditions to maintain vehicle control.

Increased Stopping Distance

Wet and slippery surfaces during rainy conditions increase the distance required for vehicles to come to a complete stop. Wet roads reduce the traction and brake effectiveness, requiring drivers to increase their stopping distance.

Drivers who fail to account for the increased stopping distance are susceptible to rear-end collisions during heavy traffic and congested areas.

Slippery Surfaces

Rain can make roads slippery, particularly at the onset of precipitation. The trapped oil, dust, and debris mix with rainwater, creating a smooth surface that reduces tire traction. The reduced traction and grip increase the likelihood of sliding and skidding, making it challenging for the driver to maintain vehicle control.

What Speed Should You Drive in the Rain?

In lower speed zones like—for example near a school— the ideal speed should be half the speed limit. You should operate at the speed at which you feel safe, which is generally 10-30 under the posted speed limit.

While driving fast, losing traction will happen faster than you expect and without warning.

Tips to Stay Safe When Driving in the Rain

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 75 percent of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavements and 47 per cent during rainfall. Each year, over 3,400 fatalities and 357,300 injuries occur during rainfall.

With maximum precipitation just about to kick off, here are a few tips to keep you safe on the roads.

  • Reduce Speed: Observe speed limits and slow down to a reasonable speed based on the road conditions. Driving slowly minimizes the risk of hydroplaning and gives the driver more control on the road.
  • Use Headlights: Turn on your headlights to enhance visibility for you and other road users. Minimize use of high beams as they can reflect off of raindrops and further reduce visibility.
  • Maintain the Vehicle in Good Working Condition: Before you start your journey, inspect your headlights, windshield wipers, turn signals, tire pressure, and tire treads. Conduct these precautions particularly when driving in the rain.
  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Rain and wet roads increase your braking distance. Adjust your following distance appropriately to match road and weather conditions. In heavy rain, it may mean doubling your following distance.
  • Avoid Cruise Control: You shouldn’t use cruise control during rainy conditions, as it may increase the risk of hydroplaning. Instead use manual control which provides you with better adaptability to changing road conditions.
  • Refrain from Heavy and Abrupt Braking: Slow and gradual stopping is a safer during rain. As you approach a stop or hazard, take your foot off the accelerator sooner than you normally do when preparing to slow down. Then, brake gently and gradually to come to a stopor reasonable speed.
  • Plan Your Route: Check local road and traffic conditions. If there are hazards on the road, halt your journey until weather conditions improve.

What About Driving at Night?

Road authorities warn drivers about the risk of night driving which presents unique challenges, increasing the risk of crashes. According to estimates by the National Safety Council, traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day.

Night driving is dangerous for the following reasons:

  • Reduced visibility
  • Hindered ability to judge speed and distance at night
  • Sharing roads with fatigued drivers
  • Inexperienced and young drivers at night
  • Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and bikers
  • Sharing road with drunk drivers and pedestrians
  • Elderly drivers with limited vision

Here’s what drivers should do to combat darkness:

  • Aim your headlights correctly and ensure they are clean
  • Dim your dashboard
  • Slow down to compensate for reduced visibility and greater stopping distance
  • If you use glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective
  • Older drivers should take annual vision exams and minimize distractions

Injured in a Rainy Car Accident? Get in Touch With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you sustained an injury because of a car crash caused by a speeding driver during heavy rain, you deserve compensation for the injury-related losses inflicted by the negligent driver.Parnall Law Firm, LLC has highly experienced injury lawyers ready to fight for a fair settlement value for your losses. Contact us online or at (505) 268-6500 for a free consultation.