Weather-related accidents happen all too often in South Carolina. You’re driving along, everything seems fine, but the road is a bit wet, and before you know it, you’ve lost control of your vehicle. Whether you hit or are hit by another vehicle, it can be confusing to know who is responsible and how you can get covered for your injuries. Learn how you can avoid car accidents and rain complications, and how a car accident attorney can help if you are hurt in such an incident.
Car Accidents and Rain
Any kind of inclement weather can present significant chances for injury when driving. There’s an old complaint that when water falls from the sky, people forget how to drive, and in some ways that’s true—being overly timid can be just as dangerous as being overly aggressive. So how do you strike a balance between avoiding car accidents and driving safely in the rain?
Hands on the Wheel
Keep both hands on the wheel. Too many of us fall into the bad habit of driving one-handed. Keeping both hands on the wheel gives you more control and a better chance of recovering from slippage and hydroplaning. If you’re driving a manual transmission, only take your hand off the wheel to shift, and then take hold of the wheel again.
Safe Minimum Distance
Even if the guy in front of you is enraging you with his ultra-slow driving, don’t ride up on him. This just creates dangerous situations should you suddenly lose control. Always maintain a safe distance of at least four or five car lengths between you and other drivers.
Use Your Headlights
Turning on your headlights in inclement weather is an important safety step. Even if you’ve got daytime running lights, your full headlights are going to be brighter and will not only help you to see better, but they will help other drivers to see you, which is every bit as important. Watch the use of your high-beams, however, as these can actually reflect off of the rain water and blind you!
Watch Your Speed
This can’t be stated enough—it doesn’t matter how much of a hurry you’re in; speed limits exist for a reason. When the weather is bad, it doesn’t hurt to go slightly below the speed limit. This is especially true if your tires have low tread or aren’t rated for inclement weather conditions. Your tires have everything to do with how much grip you have and the potential to lose control of your car.
Understand what hydroplaning is. This is when you travel at enough of a speed, or have low enough traction, that a cushion of water forms under your wheels and lifts your car off the road. You may not even realize this has happened until you try to navigate a curve or turn and your car keeps going straight! Hydroplaning is a real risk, and when it happens, you lose all control. If you find you are hydroplaning, take your foot off the gas, steer gently and let your car slow down. Don’t brake slam, and don’t jerk the wheel!
Keep Your Head
Look, people can drive you crazy. Nobody is challenging that, but the more enraged you get, the more likely you are to make a mistake or get dangerous behind the wheel. If someone else is making you angry, don’t fall prey to road rage. Take a breath, calm down and remind yourself that your safety is as much in your hands as theirs, and it’s better to get there late than not at all.
If You Are Injured
Accidents do happen from time to time. If you are in an accident, and it’s the fault of another driver, you are entitled to compensation. However, when there are inclement weather conditions involved, it can be tougher to prove fault. Make sure that you document the accident as thoroughly as possible, keep calm and get in touch with a personal injury attorney.
Personal injury attorneys know how to challenge the “weather is at fault” defense that insurance companies will try to use to avoid paying out. When they try to come at you to get you to settle for less than you deserve, your attorney will make sure that doesn’t happen.
If you’ve been involved in an accident in South Carolina where rain was a factor, drop us a line for a consult of your case with no obligation and no fees unless we win.