Though driving safely in North Carolina should always be a priority, it may never be more important than when driving in inclement weather. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 25% of car accidents are weather-related, especially when the pavement is wet, whether it’s due to rain, snow, sleet, ice, or fog.
It is interesting to note that of the crashes due to wet roads, a majority of the accidents occur during rainstorms, as opposed to wet roads due to winter weather such as sleet, snow, or ice. Drivers seem to understand the need to slow down during winter weather but may not exercise such caution when driving in the rain.
If you happen to be involved in an accident during bad weather, don’t assume that the other driver is immediately off the hook for liability, though. Any negligence on their part can be grounds for filing a liability claim with the help of a North Carolina car accident lawyer. Use the following tips to reduce your risk of a collision, and call an attorney if you end up injured in a wreck caused in part by bad weather.
When it is raining, driver visibility is probably the most easily noticed barrier to driving safely.
However, when the roads become wet, traction also becomes an issue. Your tires are not able to have the same amount of traction on wet roads they otherwise would under dry conditions. Because of that, it is important to note that it may take substantially longer to slow down and stop your vehicle under wet conditions.
In typical cases, it can take twice the distance to stop during wet conditions, and as long as four times as long to stop during snowy or icy conditions.
It is also important to note that the faster you’re driving, it can take exponentially longer to stop. At highway speeds during a downpour, you may skid 315 feet or more, nearly the equivalent of a football field, before coming to a complete stop. Because of this, it is always a good idea to reduce your speed when encountering wet roads, especially if your visibility is also affected.
Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind when driving in inclement weather:
As discussed above, one of the easiest and most important things you can do to stay safe when driving in inclement weather is to reduce your rate of speed when driving. Even reducing your speed by 10 to 15 miles per hour can have a great impact on how long it takes your car to come to a complete stop.
Knowing that wet conditions will cause you to have longer stopping times, it is important to leave more room than you normally would between your car and the car in front of you. Though not likely to add more time to your overall trip, leaving ample room between cars is a good way to significantly decrease the chance of being involved in a rear-end collision, especially if reduced visibility is a factor.
Another important step to take when driving in less-than-ideal weather conditions to to make sure that other drivers can see your car. The best way to do this is to make sure you have your low beam lights turned on, even during daylight. In North Carolina, if your windshield wipers are on, you are legally required to turn on your headlights, no matter the time of day.
Though in some states it is illegal, in North Carolina, you are permitted to drive with your hazard lights on during inclement weather. While it can offer some additional visibility, Corporal Adam Schwartzel of the Wilmington Police Department generally advises against using your hazards unless you’re traveling significantly under the posted speed limit. “Believe it or not, he says, the thing that makes you the most visible is your headlights, they can be seen much better and much farther away than any other light.”
One of the best ways to stay safe during bad weather is to make sure that your vehicle is up-to-date on all its regular maintenance, including your brakes and windshield wipers. Though maybe not something mentioned regularly, it is also a good idea to make sure your headlights are clean, as dirty headlights can cause reduced visibility in bad weather.
Use your windshield wipers to help keep your windshield clear while traveling. If you notice that your wipers are not adequately clearing your windshield, make sure to pull over to a safe place to scrape off any ice or snow that has built up.
Keep you and your family safe during bad weather by ensuring that everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt. Not only is it the law, but it can also save lives in the event of an accident due to bad weather.
If you know that you are going to be traveling in bad weather, plan ahead. Map your route, find local radio stations to listen to in order to receive up-to-date reports about weather and road conditions, and closures.
You should also pack an emergency kit that has extra clothing layers, flashlights and batteries, first-aid supplies, jumper cables, bottled water, and a multi-tool, such as a Swiss Army knife, as well as any additional supplies you and your family may need in the event of an emergency.
Sometimes, no matter how cautious you are, accidents still happen. If you’ve been involved in a car accident in North Carolina, contact an experienced attorney at the law offices of Auger & Auger. At Auger & Auger, we have over 26 years of experience fighting for clients to give them the best chance at receiving the compensation they need in order to move on from a car accident.
Contact us today, either by calling us at (855) 971-1114 or visiting us online to schedule your free, no-obligation case review. One of our experienced lawyers will sit down with you, listen to the particulars of your case, and give you personalized feedback about how you should best move forward to resolve your case.