Summer Storm Driving Tips

While it is important to be a cautious driver at all times, driving through a summer storm presents a whole new set of potentials risks. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, even an inch or two of rainfall causes car accidents to skyrocket. Here is a closer look at some driving tips that will limit your chances of being in an accident during a storm and the steps you must take to protect your health and well-being after a collision has occurred.

Turn Your Lights On

One of the most common mistakes that is made when driving in a rainstorm is keeping the headlights off. As a general rule, your vehicle's lights should be turned on whenever you have your windshield wipers on. Even if you do not need the lights to see the road, it will help other drivers recognize your vehicle from much farther away.

Don't Use Cruise Control

Cruise control is an excellent feature when taking long trips on straight roads, but it can be quite dangerous in wet conditions. Once cruise control is on, many drivers tend to take their feet off the pedals, and that can slow down their reaction times. There is also a much higher risk of hitting the brakes too hard and losing traction when the cruise control is on.

Leave a Few Minutes Early

Getting into the habit of leaving a few minutes earlier than you need to is one of the easiest driving tips to remember. During a storm, going the speed limit or a few miles an hour above the speed limit exponentially increases your risk of being an accident. Leaving five or ten minutes earlier than usual so that you can stay in the slow lane gives you much more time to react to the changing road conditions.

Carefully Watch Larger Vehicles

Many accidents take place simply because drivers do not realize just how unpredictable larger trucks and RVs can be. Not only do these vehicles require a long distance to stop, but they can also be blown in and out of lanes with gusts of wind. Drivers should be sure to give them plenty of room on all sides and never linger in their blind spot.

Don't Trust Running Water

Just a few inches of running water can actually move a vehicle, and that is why you never want to drive through it unless you are absolutely sure it is safe to do so. Water rushing across the road can also hide obstacles such as rocks and tree branches. If you notice any running water on the road, then you should always attempt to find an alternate route.

Increase Your Space Cushion

According to the DMV, drivers should have a cushion of three seconds between themselves and the vehicle in front of them at all times. When the roads are wet, however, that cushion should be extended to six or seven seconds.

Check Your Car Before the Storm

Summer storms come and go every year, and a little preventative maintenance can drastically improve the safety of your vehicle. At the very least, drivers should check the tread on their tires and the blades of their windshield wipers once or twice a month. You should also have a good spare tire, flares, and safety reflectors if an accident does occur.

A summer storm might not shut down the roads, but it does increase the risk of accidents taking place. In the unfortunate event that a collision does take place, it is absolutely vital that you pull off the road, call 9-1-1, and contact an auto accident attorney to protect your record and your finances. 

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T.J. Smith, Attorney at Law
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