Safety Conditioning to Avoid Car Accidents Caused by Poor Weather Conditions
When tourists think of Texas they think of sunshine and hot, dry summers. However, as an actual Texan you know better. The weather isn’t always a beautiful and dry 75 degrees—it can be, but there isn’t a guarantee. In fact, since we share a border with the Gulf of Mexico, weather can be extremely unpredictable. One day it may be a comfortable 65 degrees and then plummet to a frigid 35 degrees the following morning, making for a rather uncomfortable morning commute.
Understandably, these changes can be a shock to the system, but what makes them truly chilling is their affect on your safety. Poor or unexpected weather changes can have a serious influence over road conditions, traffic patterns, and driving safety.
Weather Driving Risks
Rain, fog, and occasional patches of ice or snow can cause significant risks for drivers—especially when those drivers are unaccustomed to slippery or poor road conditions. Common risks Texas drivers face as a result of changing weather patterns include:
- Poor visibility. Torrential downpours and fog can drastically decrease a driver’s ability to see more than a few feet in front of him. As a result, many car accidents occur when a driver rear-ends the car in front of him because he failed to see him until it was too late to stop. Other types of visibility accidents include intersection t-bone crashes (when a driver failed to see crossing traffic or a stop sign) and highway multi-car collisions caused when leading vehicles suddenly slow down.
- Hydroplaning. Excessive water on the road can increase risks of your tires skidding across puddles, losing traction with the road, and sliding out of control.
- Lost traction. Icy roads can cause you to lose tire traction even more so than when driving a car in the rain. Furthermore, patches of ice or snow can also cause your vehicle to slide down hills, veer off course, and even potentially skid into another vehicle, biker, or pedestrian.
Driving Tips to Stay Safe in Poor Weather
It is easy to lose control of your vehicle and spin or skid out of control. However, there are ways you can prepare yourself to avoid total disaster. The next time you find yourself driving in poor weather conditions, remember these simple safety techniques.
- Increase your safety distance. Maintaining a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you is extremely important at all times, but when the road is slick or your visibility is diminished, that safe distance needs to be increased. When driving in good conditions you should maintain at least a three-second window between yourself and the car ahead of you; when the car ahead of you passes a fixed point, it should take you at least three seconds to pass the same point. However, when road conditions are jeopardized by weather, this stopping distance should be doubled to allow for unintentional sliding or loss of control. During very poor weather conditions such as heavy rain, heavy fog, or heavy snow, this time should be tripled to nine seconds.
- Maintain tire pressure. Driving on tires that are either over inflated or under inflated can affect your stopping ability. Over inflated tires can result in a loss of traction and increases risk of sliding or hydroplaning. Under inflated tires can result in an increased stopping time, increasing your risk of rear-ending a car in front of you or skidding into an intersection. Always check your tire pressure after a storm or before driving in adverse weather to ensure you’ll be driving on four good wheels.
- Drive defensively. Distracted driving is more prevalent and even more dangerous during poor weather conditions. Poor visibility, the ease in which a vehicle can lose control, and the anxiety of driving in such conditions can all increase your risks as well as the risk for other drivers. Consequently, it is up to you to pay close attention to both the road and traffic as well as slow down or adjust your driving to the changing conditions. Although you may want to get out of the rain as quickly as possible, the most important thing is to get out of it safely.
- Check your route. Since the weather can be unpredictable, it is important to check local weather reports before you start your travels. Your local news station should provide information on current road conditions and potential weather changes so you know what to expect during your drive and can prepare accordingly.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was partially caused by poor weather or road conditions then call us now at 1-800-232-3711 or 713-921-4171 for a FREE consultation on your rights. Since 1973, our law office has been geared primarily towards car and truck accident claims. Attorney Steve Lee knows how the insurance companies work, so let our insider knowledge help you in your time of need.