The Federal Highway Administration reports that there are approximately 5,748,000 vehicle accidents in this country each year. It might come as a surprise, but approximately 22% of these accidents are at least in part due to the weather. When weather-related crashes occur, they are most often caused by roads that are wet from either rain or snow. These numbers should be taken seriously given the amount of snow and rain that the state of Ohio sees each year. The following are some important considerations about the risks of driving in wet weather conditions.
How Wet Weather can Affect Mobility
When the roads are wet, the mobility of motorists is impacted in a variety of ways besides increased slickness. Motor vehicle operators must plan and give themselves more time to arrive at their destination. Some of the primary mobility issues that motorists face include:
- The capacity of roads in Ohio is often lowered as the result of snow. As a result, there is less time for motorists to maneuver around obstacles that arise.
- Traffic signals can be interrupted by rain or snow. This can lead to a lack of adequate signage, which presents an increased risk of ending up in accidents with other drivers on the road.
- The accumulation of rain and snow can make it more difficult for motorists to stop suddenly when hazardous conditions arise on the road.
Increased Responsibility in Adverse Weather Conditions
The same negligence laws that apply in other Ohio car accidents also apply when roads are wet. In many cases, wet weather conditions even increase the duty that drivers have to exercise due care. By traveling on Ohio’s roads in the rain or snow, drivers are indirectly communicating that they are aware of the risks they are taking. This means that drivers must exercise additional caution by making sure:
- Vehicles are properly serviced and prepared to accommodate winter travel conditions.
- To adjust their speed during impaired travel conditions.
- To maintain a larger distance from other vehicles than when they are traveling in better conditions.
- To give themselves additional time to reach their destinations so they are not in a hurry.
- To operate their vehicles defensively because other drivers on the road are likely not prepared for the wet roads.
Advice for Safely Traveling Over Ohio’s Wet Roads
There are a range of driving strategies that drivers traveling on wet roads should use to avoid the risk of ending up in accidents. These include:
- Avoiding cruise control. Many modern vehicles have cruise control. While this can be an advantageous feature in dry conditions, using cruise control on wet roads increases the risk that a vehicle will not be able to maintain safe traction with the road. To avoid losing traction, motorists should instead reduce their vehicle’s speed. Not to mention, avoiding cruise control allows drivers to focus more on Ohio’s roads and the surrounding conditions.
- Know how to respond to a skid. Even the most cautious drivers can end up skidding on wet roads. If your vehicle begins to skid, you should avoid panicking. Instead, you should steer in the direction that you would like your vehicle to travel. You should also avoid slamming on the brakes because this will cause the vehicle to jerk violently out of control.
- Slow down. One of the most critical safety strategies to follow when roads are wet is to slow down. This way you can reduce your vehicle’s chances of hydroplaning. Even when traveling at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour, a vehicle’s tires can lose traction with the road and hydroplane. Besides slowing down, drivers can also avoid hydroplaning by never slamming on the brakes or turning sharply. Because conditions can arise suddenly on wet roads and it can be difficult to tell when your vehicle will skid out of control, you should leave a sufficient amount of stopping distance between your vehicle and other motorists on the road.
Speak with an Ohio Accident Lawyer
The consequences of weather-related road accidents in Ohio are often devastating. If you or your loved ones have been impacted by one of these accidents, you should not hesitate to speak with a skilled accident attorney. Contact Kruger & Hodges today. And remember, stay safe in the rain and snow and avoid driving in these dangerous conditions whenever possible.