Nevada is a land of extremes. Along with hot, dry weather, the state also experiences tremendous thunder storms that bring with them exceptionally heavy rain. According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation, rain and wet pavement combined account nation-wide for about 26% of vehicle crashes, 25% of crash injuries, and 21% of crash fatalities. About half of weather-related injuries on the road are caused by rain.
Heavy rain dramatically increases the risks of driving. In a sudden downpour visibility can rapidly drop to almost nothing, obscuring cars and other obstacles in front of the vehicle. Heavy rain also covers the roadway in a layer of water that can dramatically reduce vehicles’ contact with the road, leading to hydroplaning and loss of control.
These factors are considerably more dangerous on busy roads like those in the Las Vegas area, because drivers can react to heavy rain in unpredictable ways. Few drivers are accustomed to driving in downpours. The unfamiliar conditions and relative lack of consistent safety principles turns other drivers into additional hazards. Drivers may brake suddenly, which increases the chance of hydroplaning and may force following drivers to do likewise. Alternatively, drivers may not take the danger seriously, perhaps because they are overconfident about their vehicles’ ability to handle the wet conditions.
Drivers who find themselves in heavy rain should take several precautions:
- Slow down. Rather than waiting for the cars in front to slow, it’s best to be among the drivers to reduce speed. Pay attention to the following distance of the car behind and tap the brakes if necessary to get the other car’s driver to back off.
- Turn on lights. A car without lights on can vanish in a downpour.
- Try to maintain a safe following distance. Water on the roadway dramatically increases stopping distance. Giving the car in front an extra cushion is an important way of avoiding accidents.
- If necessary, stop. If rain is so heavy that visibility is completely gone, one should assume that the roadway is also heavy with water. Stopping completely may be the best course. If doing so, turning on hazard lights is a good extra precaution.
In the event of an accident during heavy rains, the important thing is to stay safe.
- Oncoming traffic will pose an ongoing hazard until traffic patterns have adjusted to accommodate for the accident.
- Emergency personnel may arrive more slowly due to the weather.
- If vehicles are stopped in an area that is flooded or may become flooded (meaning more than 6 to 10 inches of water), it may be necessary to leave the vehicle to avoid being caught in a flash flood.
Anyone who has been seriously injured in a car crash should talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in auto accident cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured in an accident during heavy rains, please give us a call today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.