Everyone has a responsibility to drive safely, especially during times of bad weather. As the Federal Highway Administration explains, poor weather can hamper your ability to drive. Your vehicle may not perform as well, your visibility may decrease, and the wet pavement may interfere with your vehicle’s ability to keep traction.
Different types of bad weather offer varying levels of risk. Depending on the intensity of the weather, you or another driver may experience a heightened risk of a collision with an automobile or a pedestrian.
The risks of driving in the rain
Research provided by the Federal Highway Administration finds that rainfall is the most common form of bad weather that increases crash risks. The overwhelming majority of accidents that occur in bad weather happened due to rainfall or wet pavements. The FHA discovered that 70% of crashes happen on wet pavement while 46% occur during rain.
There are multiple factors that contribute to these crashes. The diminished visibility makes it hard to react in time to events that necessitate slowing down or stopping, such as when traffic signals turn yellow or red. Additionally, the lack of traction resulting from a wet pavement minimizes the ability of a car to slow down and avoid a potential collision.
Additional bad weather risks
Deteriorating weather can come in other forms. They do not cause as many crashes as rain, but are worth knowing about, particularly during the winter months. According to the FHA, 18% of weather-related collisions occur during snow or sleet conditions, while 13% happen on icy pavements and 16% occur on pavement with snow or slush. Fog may also produce crashes, but only 3% of them.
Prepare your vehicle accordingly
Bad weather is not always an excuse for drivers to get into an accident. You may minimize your chances of a bad weather-related collision by making sure your brakes are in good condition, that your headlights function, and that your tires have air. If you know you will drive in snowy weather, make sure your vehicle has snow tires. Additionally, be sure your horn works so you may warn other cars or pedestrians if needed.
If you have equipped your vehicle for bad weather, it will not offer an excuse if another driver collides with you. You should feel confident that you have done your part to drive safely and have no responsibility for any injuries you suffer in an accident.