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Tips for Driving in the Rain in Las Vegas, Nevada

Posted by: on Mon, Jan 12, 2015

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143 wrecks reported in 10 hours because of rain, Jan. 12, 2015, Las Vegas Review Journal

Rain has been the cause of thousands of car accidents year in and year out, and rain is especially dangerous in dry weather states Nevada.. Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys know that some of the most heavily populated areas in Southern Nevada — especially Clark County— only have rain periodically during the year, (less than 4 inches per year) and many people forget how to drive in it. Therefore, drivers need to understand exactly how rain can contribute to accidents. For example, just yesterday the Las Vegas metro area experienced over 140 accidents in just a single day in the midst of a lengthy rain storm.

A Lot of Drivers Don’t Know How to Drive in the Rain

In bad weather conditions, there are two types of drivers who can significantly increase the risk to others: excessively timid drivers and reckless drivers.

Excessively timid drivers tend to overestimate the danger of weather conditions and drive at unreasonably low speeds. When the weather limits the number of available traffic lanes, such as can happen following heavy rain, this type of driver can cause traffic to back up, increasing the risk of a rear end accident, particularly on I-15 and our Las Vegas beltway, I-215.

Reckless drivers often ignore the consequences of bad weather and may even think it is a good thing that the weather has forced a lot of other drivers off of the road. Reckless drivers may well drive at full highway speed or greater, even when visibility is low or the roads are drenched. Even with four wheel drive (4WD), cars can still skid. When they lose control on a slippery road, their high speed makes it much more likely for a serious car accident to occur.

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Rain Makes the Road Slippery

Rain can make it more difficult to stay on a roadway, to stop, or to avoid colliding with other vehicles. This is especially true when it first starts raining because Las Vegas roads are their most slippery at the beginning of a rainstorm. This is when dust, oil and grime mix with the water making a slippery roadway surface.  When the road first gets wet, oil rises to the surface and creates a greasy surface. If you can’t stop your car in time, that’s when accidents happen. Often the roads are safer after the rain has washed away the greasy surface.

Rain Decreases Visibility

During rain storms, it can be difficult for drivers to see to see other cars. When rain is combined with dirty water kicked up from the road by other drivers, windshields can quickly become dirty. That is why it is always important to make sure that your car has functional windshield wipers.

Tips for Driving in Rainy Weather

Car and truck accidents become significantly more common during periods of inclement weather. With the transition from fall to winter weather in the arid west, driving conditions can change suddenly, requiring extra caution on the road. Our experienced personal injury litigators at Albright Stoddard focus our vehicle accident practice on obtaining compensation for injured motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Mindful of the importance of accident avoidance, we offer these reminders to help you prepare for the weather ahead and stay safe on the road.

Regularly check your wipers. Windshield wiper blades should be replaced at least once a year to make sure they stay in good conditions. If your wipers are not effectively cleaning your windshield or leaving streaks behind them, it’s time to get replacements.

Check your tires. Tires should be in good condition, having an appropriate amount of tread and no bald spots. They should also have the proper amount of air pressure.

Use your headlights. When it begins to rain, visibility can quickly start to suffer on the road. Make sure you have your headlights on so that other people on the road can more easily see you.

Watch your speed. Refrain from speeding when it’s raining.

– Apply the brakes when you go into a curve, and if you happen to skid, stay calm and get off the gas, steering in the direction you want to go.

– Hydroplaning can occur when your vehicle rides on top of the water, often at speed no greater than 40 mph.

– Check your tire tread. Bald tires may feel fine on dry roads but they become unsafe in heavy rain or snow.

– According to the National Safety Council, each year, 75 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on wet pavement and 47 percent happen during rainfall.

Leave plenty of space in front of you. When driving on the freeway, leave more space between you and the other cars, since stopping distance time is, on the average, twice as long in the rain.

These are just a few of the facts to keep in mind as the weather becomes more severe in Nevada.

Car Accident Prevention Tips For the Rain in Nevada

1. Drive slower.

This is an obvious but important tip, as it allows for better reaction times. Rainwater causes grease and oil built up on the road to surface and tires traction suffers as a result. If you drive slower, your tire traction will improve and you will also have more time to brake.

2. Keep your eyes on the car ahead of you.

In the rain, it’s often hard to see very far ahead of you. On a clear sunny day, you can see the traffic situation a couple hundred feet down the road and react accordingly. On a rainy day, it helps to watch for the reaction of the driver ahead of you. When he brakes, you brake. Still keep a safe following distance from the car in front because you’ll need to brake more slowly on a slippery road to avoid skidding. So stay as far from the car in front of you as possible while also remaining close enough to keep it in clear sight.

3. Do not brake suddenly.

Sudden braking may cause a skid. Since the roads are slippery, stopping the wheels too quickly may cause them to lose all traction with the road, and an imminent car accident becomes a distinct possibility. In the case that skidding occurs, however, remain calm and do not make sudden turns because doing so may make the skidding even more dangerous. Just try to remain calm and steer straight until you feel the car regain traction.

4. Correctly defog your windows.

The windows on your car might fog, further limiting you visibility. You try to defog with the heater, but that will only further fog up your windows. To defog, keep your air conditioning blowing at both your windshield and your back window. If your car has a defog function, just press the button, and defogging should start automatically. Keep it on until all windows are clear!

5. Avoid standing water or flood water.

Most roads are built with the middle of the road higher than the sides, so try to stay near the middle of the road where it would be less likely to have a buildup of rainwater. If you do expect to go through standing water, lightly tap the brake pedal beforehand to dry the tire off a little.

Ideally, all rainy car accidents could be prevented if people stopped driving when it rains, but that is an unrealistic assumption. Everyone has things they must attend to, so just keep these tips in mind when driving in the rain. You can always pull over to the side and wait it out if you really think it’s raining too hard to drive. Nothing can make up for the loss of loved one in a fatal car accident, so always yield to safety.

ASWA Safety tips for driving in rain in Las Vegas:

When you are driving in heavy rain, visibility is decreased and hindered, so the following tips can help you avoid an accident.

Check your tires for tread and for proper inflation to avoid getting into a hydroplaning situation.

Avoid flooded roads and intersections. You never know when a flooded road can cause your vehicle to stall or when a flash flood could carry your vehicle away.

Check your brakes to make sure they are not saturated after driving through a puddle by braking lightly.

Slow down. Stopping distances are longer in the rain.

Turn gently. Turn gently on curves as your stopping and on highway on/off ramps as stopping distances are longer in the rain.

Don’t follow too closely so you can react if a car brakes suddenly.

Use your low beams as high beams as rain can create a glare.

Use your turn signal to let other drivers know of your intentions.

Pull over and quit driving when rain is so heavy that you cannot drive safely. Try to pull completely off the road and use your emergency blinkers.

About the Authors: The law firm of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright is an A-V Rated Nevada-based full-service law firm having attorneys licensed in Nevada, California and Utah. Our firm’s practice includes a strong emphasis on personal injury accidents. Call us at 702-384-7111.

Note: This article, and any other information you obtain at this website, is not offered as legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as such, nor is it a solicitation for legal services. Only a licensed attorney can advise you with respect to your specific legal needs. We welcome your contacting our firm to discuss such representation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.