If you had to guess, what kind of weather would you think is most dangerous in terms of car crashes? Snow? Ice? Sleet?
Somewhat surprisingly, the answer is wet pavement. According to the Federal Highway Administration, wet pavement is present in approximately 70% of weather-related crashes. Rain comes in second, contributing to about 46% of all weather-related crashes. Other types of dangerous weather include:
- Snow/sleet: 18% of weather-related crashes
- Snow/slushy pavement: 16% of weather-related crashes
- Icy pavement: 13% of weather-related crashes
- Fog: 3% of weather-related crashes
Since rain and wet pavement are so dangerous, we thought we would remind drivers to take extra care in those conditions, which are common this time of year.
Why are rain and wet pavement so dangerous?
One reason is that they can make conditions slipperier than they appear. The oil and grease on the road, mixed with just a small amount of water, can create truly slick conditions. And, enough rain can cause you to hydroplane, where water comes between your tires and the ground, robbing them of their grip.
Another reason is that rain can reduce visibility substantially, making it critical for drivers to slow down.
And, rain can cause floods in the roadway. Driving through too deep of a puddle can impair your brakes or even flood your engine, quickly disabling your car. Rain wash can also hide other hazards in the roadway, such as debris or potholes. Never drive your car through water unless you can see the bottom.
The main thing to remember about rain and wet pavement is that they may be more dangerous than you expect. Slow down. Keep those tires gripping the pavement.
What about those potholes?
Changes in temperature freeze and thaw water underneath pavement, undermining it. That’s basically the cause of potholes, which are this season’s scourge for drivers. Hitting a pothole can cause alignment problems or damage your wheels. This can make it harder to drive your car safely – and cost a lot of money in repairs. Do your best to watch for and avoid potholes wherever possible. Also, keep your tires fully inflated because this can help reduce the damage potholes cause.
Spring is also allergy – and medication — season
Drivers should also be aware of their medications this time of year. Seasonal allergies prompt many people to use antihistamines, which can cause you to become drowsy. Allergy medications can also interact with other medications or have side effects that affect your driving. Always be sure how a drug affects you before driving while using it.
Finally, if you are hit by another driver who was traveling too fast for the conditions, contact a personal injury attorney for an evaluation of your case.