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The Top 14 Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain - How to Drive Safely in the Rain?

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How to Drive Safely in the Rain: Top 14 Tips for Motorists

How to Drive Safely in the Rain: Top 14 Tips for Motorists

Nov 8, 2021

Inclement weather driving can be dangerous, particularly for teenagers and those with limited experience. And while snow, sleet, fog, and high winds can cause countless car accidents annually, rain may actually be the most dangerous driving condition.

Weather-related crashes are defined as those occurring in adverse conditions or on slick pavement. The National highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly 5,000 people are killed and over 418,000 injured in weather-related crashes every year (based on a 10-year average from 2007 to 2016). Approximately 1,235,000 weather-related car crashes occur in the U.S. annually.

Below we will look specifically at rain-related car accidents and review some important tips to help drivers avoid this type of motor vehicle collision. We’ll also discuss how filing a personal injury claim after a car accident injury can be an excellent means of recovering financial compensation for various types of damages.

How Many U.S. Car Accidents are Caused by Rain?

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHA) have provided the following statistics related to rain-related car accidents. The figures represent a 10-year average based on data collected between 2007 and 2016.

Statistics on Annual U.S. Car Accidents Caused by Rain:

  • 556,151 rain-related car crashes occur every year
  • 212,647 people are injured in rain-related car crashes every year
  • 2,473 people are killed in rain-related car crashes every year

Car accidents due to rain represent 10% of all vehicle crashes, according to data compiled by the DOT and FHA. In terms of all weather-related car accidents, those caused by rain represent approximately 48% (with 70% of all crashes due to wet pavement).

Furthermore, rain-related car accident injuries represent 10% of the overall total but 51% of all weather-related injuries. Rain-related motor vehicle fatalities represent 8% of the overall total but 46% of all weather-related car accident deaths.

How Does Rain Impact Driving Conditions?

The DOT and FHA offer some important statistics demonstrating how rain can adversely impact driving conditions.

Statistics on How Rain Impacts Driving and Roadway Conditions:

  • On freeways, light rain or snow can reduce average speed by three to 13%.
  • Heavy rain can decrease average speed by three to 16%.
  • Free-flow speed can be reduced by two to 13% in light rain and by six to 17% in heavy rain.
  • Speed variance can fall by 25% during rain.
  • Light rain can decrease freeway capacity by four to 11% and heavy rain can cause capacity reductions of 10 to 30%.
  • Maximum flow rates can decline by 14% in heavy rain.

In comparison to other inclement weather conditions, the DOT and FHA offer the following table demonstrating freeway traffic-flow reductions.
Freeway Traffic Flow Reductions due to Weather

How Dangerous is Driving in the Rain?

How Dangerous is Driving in the Rain?

As demonstrated by the data included above, driving in the rain can pose significant dangers to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike (essentially anyone sharing the roads).

Driving in even light rain can decrease tire traction and cause vehicles to spin out, hydroplane, or fail to stop in time. As indicated by the statistics above, rain is a weather condition that has a significant impact on a vehicle’s ability to perform properly. Additionally, rain can decrease a driver’s visibility for critical markers such as lanes, stop signs, and crosswalks, as well as conceal hazards on roadways such as potholes, debris, and even wildlife.

What Should You NOT Do While Driving in the Rain?

It goes without saying that driving in the rain requires extra caution and vigilance on the part of all drivers. That said, there are some specific recommendations for actions drivers should not partake in while operating a vehicle in the rain.

What Not to Do When Driving in the Rain:

  • Speed: Speeding is not advisable even in normal weather conditions and can be particularly hazardous in rainfall.
  • Tailgate/follow too closely: Doing so in rainy conditions can cause rear-end car crashes.
  • Text or talk on a cell phone: Such acts reduce a driver’s response time considerably and can take one’s eyes off the road for several seconds.
  • Drive distracted in any way: Not paying attention – whether texting, talking to a passenger, or even daydreaming – can be especially dangerous while driving in the rain.
  • Drive without headlights on: Headlights are critical during rainfall to ensure proper visibility.
  • Drive while under the influence: Driving at any time under the influence is extremely dangerous, and that danger is increased considerably during rainy conditions.
  • Drive while drowsy: Drivers operating vehicles in the rain need to be vigilant and always drive defensively – neither of which is possible when drowsy.

How Can You Drive Safely in the Rain?

We’ve combed the internet and compiled some of the top tips for driving in the rain, many of which are provided by major auto insurance companies.

Top 14 Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain:

1. Reduce Unnecessary Trips: While this may seem like it goes without saying, many drivers could actually avoid car accidents by simply waiting a short amount of time (rain often passes after a couple of hours) and traveling when conditions improve.

2. Slow Down: State Farm Insurance calls wet roadways “the most difficult to drive on,” with grease and oil from cars often producing a film on roads during dry conditions and when it rains.

3. Check Your Vehicle’s Cleanliness/Condition: Simply maintaining clean windows which allow for complete visibility and ensuring your vehicle is properly checked for any defects can help improve safety when driving in the rain.

4. Know the Roads/Highways: Two common recommendations when traveling in rainy conditions (as well as all types of inclement weather) include only ever driving on roads and highways you’re familiar with and avoiding those you are not.

5. Switch on Lights (But Not Brights): Even if your vehicle has an automatic function, drivers are encouraged to manually turn on a car’s lights to ensure the taillights are also activated. Turning on your vehicle’s brights or high beams, however, is not advisable, as the brighter lights will actually reflect off wet surfaces – typically causing the light to bounce back into your eyes while also potentially irritating other drivers.

6. Turn the Wheel in the Direction You Wish to Go: Speeding in the rain can result in what’s known as hydroplaning, a common scenario that causes car accidents. To avoid hydroplaning, drivers are advised to turn the wheel in the direction they wish to go as soon as they feel the vehicle starting to skid or “surfboard.”

7. Leave Room Between Vehicles: When driving in the rain, motorists are urged to leave at least five seconds of distance between their own car and the vehicle directly in front of them. Driving the speed limit in the rain is not necessarily safe, and you should use caution accordingly.

8. Avoid Cruise Control: A vehicle’s cruise control function should never be used while driving in the rain. Using this feature in the rain could actually cause your vehicle to go faster than the speed at which the car is set. Additionally, the risk of hydroplaning is increased when using cruise control, and turning the function off could take a couple of seconds and reduce a driver’s control.

9. Drive in the Tracks of the Car Ahead of You: Doing this will ensure that the vehicle ahead of you displaces any standing water on the roadway, according to Mercury Insurance.

10. Use Both Hands on the Steering Wheel: Driving with two hands means you can’t text or use a cell phone. It also prevents you from drinking, eating, or changing the car’s stereo/navigation system – actions that can cause a driver to become distracted and, especially in rainfall, cause a car accident.

11. Maintain Windshield Wipers: The first line of defense in a rainstorm for cars and trucks, ensuring your windshield wipers are up to date and properly maintained can help decrease traffic collisions.

12. Defog Windows: Precipitation like rain can cause your windshield to quickly “fog up.” Accordingly, using both the front and rear defrosters to maximize visibility is strongly recommended when driving in the rain.

13. Remain Alert at all Times: Drivers traveling in the rain are always advised to remain alert, drive defensively/cautiously, and maintain safe distances as well as reduced speeds.

14. Brake Carefully: Braking too forcefully or quickly can cause your vehicle to spin out of control or hydroplane. Exercising caution when braking in the rain is strongly recommended.

Can I Recover Financial Compensation After a Weather-Related Car Accident?

Can I Recover Financial Compensation After a Weather-Related Car Accident?

In almost all car accidents where weather is a factor, a driver who causes a crash is not able to use the inclement condition as an excuse under California law. Regardless of whether a driver causes an accident as a result of rain, sleet, snow, etc., they almost always will be found to be at-fault.

That said, because California is a comparative fault state, it is always possible that any driver involved in a car accident could share a portion of liability. Comparative fault means that, when a car accident occurs, a portion of the responsibility for the crash is assigned to all involved drivers. While it’s entirely possible that one driver may be deemed 100% responsible and another 0% responsible, many car accidents involve shared liability.

At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we fight to ensure that our injured car accident victim clients are not found to be partially liable for crashes involving negligence or carelessness by the other party. If you’ve been injured in a car accident within the last two years, you may be eligible to recover substantial financial compensation for various losses endured.
Damages can vary on a case-by-case basis and depend on the specific circumstances of your rain-related or inclement weather car accident injury. Some common damages recoverable after a rain-related car accident injury include:

  • Hospital and medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Psychological distress
  • Emotional trauma

If you experienced a car accident injury, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

DLG was founded by former Deputy District Attorney Sam Dordulian, a skilled personal injury lawyer with over 25 years of experience fighting for injured victims like you. DLG’s attorneys have successfully recovered more than $100 million for injured clients while maintaining a 98% success record.

For a free and no obligation consultation with one of our Car Accident Division lawyers, contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056. There is never any fee for our legal services until we recover maximum financial compensation on your behalf.


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