Everyone knows that heavy rain makes car accidents more likely. But a recent study by the American Meteorological Society found that even drizzle can be deadly, increasing the risk of a fatal crash by 27 percent.
Researchers from the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies analyzed 125,012 fatal crashes in the Lower 48 states from 2006 to 2011, using radar data to identify how hard rain, snow or ice was falling when the accidents occurred.
Even rain of less than one-tenth of an inch per hour raised the risk of a fatal car accident, according to the findings.
Motorists underestimate how tiny amounts of rain can affect the roads, which makes them more comfortable driving faster despite adverse weather conditions. Rain was a contributing factor in 88 fatal collisions and 3,790 injury crashes in South Carolina in 2017, according to the most recent data from the state Department of Public Safety.
And even though South Carolina does not see much winter weather, snow, sleet or hail still played a role in nearly 100 fatal or injury accidents during that same year.
Dangers of Driving in the Rain
Rain affects both road conditions and visibility. Roads are the most slippery when drizzle or other precipitation begins to mix with oil residue left by other vehicles. In these conditions, drivers are especially in danger of hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning occurs when the car’s tires lose traction with the road due to an accumulation of rain. Hydroplaning causes cars to ride on top of the water instead, making it easy for a driver to lose control and slide out of his or her lane in traffic.
Hydroplaning usually happens when people are diving at higher speeds or at speeds that do not match the conditions of the roads. Driving too fast for conditions was cited as a factor in more than 40,000 South Carolina car accidents in a recent year, suggesting that motorists do not fully appreciate the risks that come with adverse weather or other hazards around them.
What to Do If Your Car Is Hydroplaning
If you’re hydroplaning, you should:
- Try not to panic.
- Gently take your foot off the gas.
- Don’t slam on the brakes. If you must brake, do it lightly and pump the brakes to avoid a skid.
- Don’t turn the steering wheel. Continue to drive straight until you feel your tires grip the pavement again.
Although hydroplaning can be a terrifying experience, it will be easy for the driver to sense when the tires are back on the road. If you need to, pull over and take a moment to collect yourself before driving again.
Injured in a South Carolina Car Accident? Contact David Blackwell Law Today
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a weather-related car accident, compensation may be possible to help with medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. Speaking with an experienced car accident attorney who can inform you of your legal options is critical.
Arrange a free consultation with a lawyer at David Blackwell Law today. With offices in Lancaster and Indian Land, we proudly represent clients in those areas and the neighboring communities of Rock Hill, Kershaw, Heath Springs, Van Wyck, Buford and Fort Mill.
Contact us and schedule a no-cost case review now.