Elvis sang about it so you know it’s real! Kentucky has its fair share of severe weather and Kentucky drivers must be prepared to drive in all kinds of conditions. On average, Kentucky sees around 45 inches of precipitation each year, with numbers projected to increase in the coming years.
In 2018, Kentucky State Police reported 158,171 collisions, with 670 resulting in fatalities. Of these collisions, 23.77% of them occurred on wet roads. Of all fatal accidents, 21.69% occurred in these same conditions. This means that approximately one-fifth of all Kentucky accidents–and all fatal accidents–occur during or after rainfall.
So how can you avoid an accident in these conditions? Here are the top 5 tips for driving in the Kentucky rain.
#1: Watch Your Speed
Speeding is always unsafe, but that’s especially true in the rain. It is important to remember that the speed limit is posted for ideal, clear conditions; you must adjust your speed dependent on the weather and road conditions. You should always reduce your speed when it is raining.
Did you know? It is recommended that drivers reduce their speed by 1/3 when driving in the rain and up to 1/2 when driving in the snow.
#2: Allow Extra Space
When pavement is wet, it takes your vehicle longer to stop than it does in ideal conditions. This means that allowing extra stopping distance and time is essential when driving in the rain. As a rule of thumb, you should allow twice the amount of space between yourself and the car in front of you when it is raining as you would during normal driving conditions.
Did you know? Oil on the pavement will mix with rainwater, making roadways extra slippery when it first begins to rain, especially when it’s hot.
#3: Avoid Distractions
Driving in the rain can create anxiety in many drivers, causing them to make small mistakes. Even if you are someone who remains calm while driving in the rain, it is important to remember that your fellow drivers may be affected in ways you are not. Always stay focused when driving during adverse weather conditions, and avoid taking your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. Never use cruise control or try to multitask while driving in the rain, and be prepared to stop at all times with the knowledge that it will take your vehicle longer than normal.
Did you know? If you are driving at 55mph and take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds only, you and your vehicle will have done the equivalent of traversing the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.
#4: Check (and Maintain) Your Tire Pressure
It’s important to keep your vehicle and its equipment up to standard, including brakes, brake lights, headlights, and windshield wipers. Tire pressure is also incredibly important and sometimes overlooked; an improperly inflated tire might struggle to find traction.
Did you know? Worn tires can increase your chances of hydroplaning, a dangerous event that can happen at speeds of 35 mph and as little as 1/12th of an inch of rain.
#5: Check (and Maintain) Your Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are especially important to check before setting out in the rain. If you turn your wipers on and they are streaking, squeaking, or not properly clearing your windshield, do not drive in the rain.
Wipers can become damaged over time due to UV rays, washer fluid, and ice in the winter. Nonfunctioning wipers should be replaced in order to provide you the clearest, safest field of vision when driving. In fact, it is recommended that wipers be replaced every 6-12 months.
Did you know? While Kentucky does not require headlights to be in use while windshield wipers are engaged, 18 of the 50 states do have laws requiring this. Making use of headlights in adverse weather conditions is a smart move. It will not only increase your visibility but also make it easier for other drivers to see you.
Maintaining focus is always essential when driving, but in adverse weather conditions it is paramount. The United States sees, on average, more than 950,000 auto accidents each year on wet roads. When traveling on Kentucky roads during rainfall, take care to follow these tips to stay safe.
Injured in a Kentucky auto accident? Don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule your risk-free consultation today.
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