In Colorado, the weather conditions are often less than desirable. Snow, ice and rain all contribute to hazardous driving conditions. It’s important that you stay alert when you’re behind the wheel. The Federal Highway Administration reports that approximately 22 percent of all crashes every year, about 1,259,000, are weather related. These conditions include rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe wind and blowing debris, or even wet or snowy and slushy pavement. The biggest number of accidents occur during rainfall or on wet pavement. Here are some tips to help you stay safe behind the wheel.
Safety starts before you get on the road
- Make sure windshield wipers are working effectively and don’t streak.
- Ensure all the lights and turn signals on your vehicle are working properly so you can be seen on the road.
- Check tire tread and inflation monthly to ensure you have good traction on wet roads. Check tire pressure when tires are cold.
Safety on the road during wet conditions
- Avoid cruise control when driving in the rain or snow. Drivers have more control when not using cruise control.
- Slow down to reduce the risk of hydroplaning, which is when the tires rise up on a film of water and your vehicle skims the road. Avoid hard braking or turning sharply. Make sure to leave plenty of distance between your car and the one in front of you.
- Avoid using electronics while driving in hazardous conditions. Even hands-free devices take your mind off the road and other vehicles.
- Know how to respond to a skid. Don’t panic. Continue to steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go. Don’t slam on the brakes in a skid, as this makes it harder to control your car. Gently ease up off the gas and gently press your brakes to transfer weight to the front of the car to slow down.
- Antilock braking systems are designed to prevent the loss of steering control during slick road conditions, but you do need to pay attention and make sure to have enough stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. Know how your antilock system works.
- Consider taking an advanced driving class to be more confident when handling driving emergencies.
Respect the rain and weather conditions. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving wet weather, it can be beneficial to speak to a personal injury attorney about your situation. Good lawyers have the experience to help you find the best possible outcome for your case.