Washington DC, Maryland, and the many nearby states and communities are subject to a good amount of rainfall throughout the year. Maryland’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean ensures plenty of rainy travels for everyone who drives regularly in Maryland and nearby.
Wet roads make it much harder to see, maintain traction, and make sudden driving maneuvers to avoid an impending car accident. In addition, visibility is much worse, especially at night and during dusk and dawn.
Fortunately, modern vehicles have equipment that can help to control the driving dangers created by rainfall. Also, some basic tips can help drivers to stay safe and avoid accidents.
Tires Are Critically Important for Rainy Roads
The best way to prepare your vehicle for driving in the rain is to ensure you have good brakes and tires. Wet roads greatly increase the stopping distance needed for most vehicles. That is because wet roads make it much harder for your tires to maintain traction needed for the brakes to do their job.
Springtime is an ideal time to balance and rotate the wheels and tires on your vehicle. You want the best tires on the back to help maintain stability and prevent the rear end from swinging around when trying to turn, corner, or stop suddenly while driving in the rain.
If you are getting new tires mounted, you should try to buy tires that are specially designed to give you the best traction while driving on wet roads.
Many tire shops also will perform tire siping that removes thin strips of tread. That helps the tires to channel water away from the contact patch and give you better traction while driving on wet roads.
You also should check the tire pressures and top them off if they are low. Properly inflated tires will give you the best possible traction.
Increase Your Following Distances
Wet roads could increase safe stopping distances by as much as a third more than it normally would take to stop safely on dry roads. Most drivers maintain a two-second gap between the vehicle in front while driving in good weather. You have to increase the following distance when the roads are wet.
A good rule is to add one or two more car lengths to your following distance whenever possible. That will help to ease your nerves while enabling the brakes and tires to bring your vehicle to a safe stop.
Heavy traffic can make it hard to maintain and three- of four-second gap between your car and the one in front of you. However, the farther behind, the easier it will be to stop safely or maneuver around other vehicles.
Use Good Wiper Blades and Fluid
Wiper blades are important to help you see while you are driving in the rain. If you have old and worn wiper blades on your car, they will not clear the rainfall from the windshield.
If you cannot get the rain off the windscreen, you cannot clearly see where you are driving. And that is very dangerous.
Some new wiper blades are very affordable and easy to install. You should check them in the spring and replace them if they are worn out from the winter.
You also should top off your windshield washer fluid reservoir. Clean washer fluid will help to keep your vision clear in all driving conditions and prevent bird droppings, bug guts, or road grime from clouding your vision while driving in the rain.
Make Sure Your Lights Work Properly
You need good lights to help you to see and be seen while driving in rainy conditions. The gray skies during the day could make it much harder to see oncoming traffic.
If you have your lights on and they all work properly, other motorists can see you much sooner than while driving with them off. Other drivers also will have an easier time of seeing your brake lights and turn signals and adjust their driving.
You also should do your best to drive while using the dimmer switch and not your car’s high beams. Bright headlights can be especially disorienting on rainy nights. An oncoming vehicle might have poor wiper blades and a partly obscured windshield.
High beams from oncoming vehicles could create a glare and blind the driver. That might cause a head-on collision.
Beware of Bridges and Overpasses in Cool Weather
It is important to be aware of the dangers that bridges and overpasses could create while you are driving in the rain. If the temperature is slightly above freezing, bridges and overpasses tend to freeze over first.
That is because a there is no earth to insulate the raised sections of roadway. The cold air and wind can blow right through and below them. That makes them prone to icing over before any other sections of roadway.
If you are traveling at a normal rate of speed on a misty and cool spring day, unseen ice might be a hazard. Also, accidents on bridges and overpasses could result in a long tumble to the ground or water below.
Use Traction Control and AWD or 4X4 Systems
Many modern vehicles have electronic traction control systems. Those systems electronically adjust the power to drive wheels as needed to help maintain traction. However, they might not work automatically.
If you need to switch on the traction control system for it to work, you should do that when it is raining. If you are unsure whether your vehicle has such a system or how to use it, consult your owner’s manual.
In addition, if your vehicle has AWD or a 4X4 drivetrain, you also should use it while it is raining. These systems are designed to improve your traction and handling in wet conditions, but some AWD or 4X4 drivetrains require you to switch them on to work.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Recover from a Variety of Accidents
If you have been in a car accident in which rainy conditions were a factor and the other driver failed to take proper precautions, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. We will investigate the cause of the accident and hold the negligent party responsible so that you receive the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.