In wet weather, there are five tips that every motorist in West Virginia should follow to keep the roads safer.
Many people in West Virginia love it when it rains. The pitter patter of rain drops can be soothing to the ear and the plants seem to burst with color. However, for those driving in wet weather, the roads can be hazardous and full of unknown risks. The U.S. Department of Transportation states that any kind of precipitation can cause lane obstructions, traction control problems, and visibility issues. This can slow down traffic and cause drivers to lose control, causing delays and increasing drivers’ accident risk.
Weather conditions are involved in 22 percent of all traffic accidents throughout the U.S. each year. Since there are over 5.7 million collisions, this amounts to about 1.2 million. Additionally, weather-related crashes cause injury to more than 445,000 people and death to around 6,000 each year. However, there are things drivers can do to lower their risk of getting into an accident.
1. Retain a greater distance from other vehicles
This seems like common sense, but yet many people still continue to drive at the same distance from other cars during wet weather as they do when the road is dry. This can lead to a problem if the car in front has to slam on its brakes or starts to skid. If it is raining, maintain additional distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you so as to give you additional time to respond.
2. Have good tires
Making sure the tires are in good shape is one of the most important tips drivers can follow. Tires should have adequate air in them and sufficient tread. Improperly inflated tires or tires without sufficient tread can make hazardous driving conditions even more dangerous. Also, make sure that your tires are not under any defect recall. A defective tire can fail on wet surfaces and lead to a fatal crash.
3. Lower speed
As water builds on the surface of a road, the tires face a bigger challenge in retaining traction. This can easily lead to an accident if a driver is driving too fast. By reducing their speed, drivers can more easily retain control of their car in a low traction situation. Reducing speed is important even if the car features a traction control system.
4. Don’t use cruise control
Many people rely on their cruise control to maintain the vehicle’s speed but the American Automobile Association states that in wet weather, this feature should remain off. If the car is on cruise control and the car starts losing traction, the driver cannot simply reduce speed by lowering the pressure on the accelerator.
5. Increase visibility
In rainy or wet weather, it can be difficult for drivers to see what is behind or in front of them. However, visibility can be increased by making sure windshield wipers are in good condition and by driving with headlights on, which also makes it easier for other drivers to see you. West Virginia law actually requires vehicle operators to use headlights during fog, rain, smoke, or other unfavorable atmospheric conditions.
Despite the many tips that drivers in West Virginia may follow, a negligent motorist can still cause an accident that results in serious injury or death. In such cases, victims may find it helpful to discuss their options with an injury attorney.