5 Best Practices for Driving in the Rain in Pennsylvania

Top 5 Best Practices for Driving in the Rain in Pennsylvania

Precipitation is the downfall of safe driving on Pennsylvania roads. From cloudy days to sudden snow squalls, conditions are hindered by reduced visibility and slick roads. Most drivers do react cautiously by reducing their speed and allowing more space between themselves, yet wet pavement still accounts for approximately 1.2 million car crashes every year, according to AAA records.

In Pennsylvania in 2014, 11.4% of car
crashes and 9.6% of fatalities occurred due to rain or a combination of rain and fog.
Out of a total of 121,317 crashes and 1,195 deaths, rain was the culprit behind 13,870 crashes and 115 deaths, while snow was responsible for 10,236 crashes and 44 deaths, or 8.4% of crashes and 3.7% of deaths that year. Wet roads as a result of rain caused more crashes and deaths than any other road surface condition in Pennsylvania that year. To avoid becoming a statistic, there are a few simple rules you should always follow when it looks like rain.

#1 Turn on Your Headlights

The most important thing you can do in the rain (especially if you drive a silver, white, black, beige, or gray vehicle) is to turn on your headlights. It is legally required that you do so when your windshield wipers are turned on. This makes you visible to drivers around you, especially under heavy rainfall. If your car is a neutral color that matches the asphalt, it is especially important for your lights to be on so you don’t disappear in the rain.

#2 Turn OFF Your Hazard Lights

Yes it is good to have lights on so that people can see you, but it is not smart to turn on your hazard lights when your car is operational and you are not having an emergency. This actually reduces visibility of your vehicle, as the lights can trick people into thinking you are stopped or incapable of moving at the speed of traffic (which is pretty slow anyway when the rain is coming down hard). This also prohibits your brake lights from showing, so if you are slowing down or having to make a sudden stop, the people behind you won’t know.

#3 Reduce Your Speed

This seems like a no-brainer, but it is important to reduce your speed at the onset of rain, not just when it has already been pouring for a while. When it just starts to rain is when roads are at their slickest, as the oil and grease on them are meeting with water for the first time. This can lead to a skid. Even if you are going 35 mph, new tires can lose touch with the roads when there is even 1/12th an inch of water on them. Avoid hydroplaning by slowing down and drive in the tracks of the car in front of you. Also, avoid sharp movements and increase your distance between cars. This gives you more stopping room.

#4 React to Skidding the Right Way

If you are beginning to skid, do not panic. Take these steps: 1) continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go, and 2) avoid slamming on the brakes. While it goes against every instinct you have, this actually throws your car further out of balance, making it more difficult to control.

#5 Check Your Car Beforehand

It never hurts to be prepared for a hazardous situation, particularly when your life is at risk. Windshield wipers should provide a clear view with one stroke, otherwise, they should be replaced. Headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals should be functional at all times. Your tire tread depth and inflation are also important to maintain good traction on wet roads. A neat trick is to insert a quarter upside down into the groove, and if you can see above Mr. Washington’s head, you need to buy new ones. Check your tire pressure monthly and when the temperature suddenly drops.

Wet roads make driving in Pennsylvania a riskier ordeal, but statistics show that more accidents overall occur under good conditions. Some believe it is because drivers don’t feel a need to drive cautiously and they let their guards down. Still, your local PA Accident Lawyers know the ins and outs of Pennsylvania traffic laws and are here to serve you should you find yourself in a jam.

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