The weather can significantly affect the way we drive. Rain, sleet, snow, tornadoes, flooding, and other weather conditions can lead to dangerous conditions for drivers, which can increase the risk of an accident.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are more than one million weather-related car accidents across the United States each year. Some of these weather-related incidents include snow, crosswinds, rain, blowing sand and debris, fog, sleet, icy and wet roads, and more. Around 5,000 people die, and over 400,000 people suffer injuries due to weather-related car accidents annually.
How does weather affect our driving?
There are many ways that weather can affect our driving, such as:
- Low visibility or not enough lighting
- Traffic congestion
- Wind pulling or moving your vehicle
- Reduced tire traction
- Inability to see
- Running off the road or hydroplaning
- Lane obstruction
- Pavement and road damage
- Wet and slippery roads
- Reduction in speed
- Road delays or road closures
- Loss of control of vehicle
Depending on the type of accident you are involved in and the speed limit you were driving when the accident occurred, the severity and type of injury that you experience may vary. If you are involved in a weather-related car accident, you should seek medical assistance right away to rule out any serious injuries. A licensed medical provider will assess your symptoms, run tests, and determine if you have any injuries and what type of medical treatment you need to heal.
Seven tips for driving in bad weather in Maryland
At any time, a severe storm, tornado, or other intimidating weather conditions could emerge while you are driving. Most of the time, the safest thing you can do is pull over and wait it out – but sometimes, that is not possible. Therefore, you need to be prepared and ready to continue operating your vehicle and get to a safe destination as quickly as possible. Here are seven tips for driving in bad weather conditions:
- Drive below the posted speed limit: One of the best ways to protect yourself if you’re stuck driving in a storm is to slow down and drive below the posted speed limit. Those speed limits are put in place for good weather conditions. When unexpected bad weather conditions arise, you should always drive under the speed limit to prevent accidents from occurring.
- Give more than enough room between the car ahead of you and your car: When there are high winds, snow, sleet, or flooding, you should ensure that you are giving adequate space between the car in front of you and your vehicle. This gives you space to slow down or stop if the person in front of you slams on his or her brakes. In addition, sometimes, wind can pull vehicles, and snow and sleet can cause vehicles to slide. Therefore, you always want to make sure that you have enough room to possibly avoid rear-ending the vehicle in front of you.
- Turn on your lights: When bad weather arises, you should turn on your lights to help other drivers see you. It can become very dark very quickly, and visibility can become a serious issue.
- Try not to panic: When drivers panic, they may make bad decisions. For example, you may slam on your brakes, quickly change lanes, or start to speed. These are all natural reactions as you may not be sure what to do in these types of situations. Take a deep breath, relax as best as you can, and keep an eye on your surroundings.
- Use extra caution when approaching other vehicles: You should be extra cautious when approaching intersections, busy downtown areas, or even on congested highways. This is because the last thing you want to do is to hit a pedestrian, run a red light or stop sign, or sideswipe another vehicle.
- Make sure your car is always up to date and maintained for sudden weather conditions: You should always make sure that your car’s tires, lights, and windshield wipers are in good working order. Get regular oil changes and try not to drop below at least a quarter of a tank of gas. You never know when a terrible storm may arise, which is why you want to be prepared and ready.
- Be careful where you shelter: Some drivers or motorcycle riders may try to wait under a bridge or overpass area and let the storm pass. However, this can be very dangerous in certain types of storms, like hurricanes or tornadoes (or anything with high winds). It can also increase the risk of an accident if other drivers are trying to avoid hitting a parked car. Try to get to a parking lot, if you can; if you cannot, pull as far over into the shoulder as you can and leave your four-ways blinkers on, to increase your visibility to others.
If you or a family member has been involved in a car accident, please get in touch with the Maryland car accident attorneys at Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. to learn about your rights and legal options. Our team will take the time to thoroughly investigate your accident and determine if another party’s negligence played a role in your accident. Call our office or complete our contact form to get started on your claim today. We look forward to meeting you at one of our many office locations.