Hasner Law | Car Accidents | September 21, 2018
According to the Federal Highway Administration, roughly 22 percent of car accidents are weather-related, with the lion’s share related to rainfall. Considering that Atlanta receives nearly 50 inches of rain per year, and has a 30 percent chance of rain on any given day, rainfall constitutes a significant hazard for Georgia drivers.
Rainy Weather Hazards
Storms introduce two significant challenges to safe driving. First, they decrease visibility. This is especially true when wet weather is accompanied by high winds. A hot spot for severe weather (Georgia ranked second among states for a total number of tornadoes in 2017), Atlanta storms often bring heavy rainfall and strong winds. Severe weather decreases driver visibility by reducing the amount of light on the roadway and outpacing a vehicle’s windshield wipers, and these conditions make it difficult for drivers to see brake lights and other road hazards in time to avoid them.
Rain also makes road surfaces slicker. On wet roads, water fills in the small bumps and crevices of the pavement, making them smoother, and making it harder for tires to gain traction. Water can also fill in tire treads, dramatically increasing the amount of time it takes to brake. Because roads remain wet even after the rain has stopped, drivers should remain alert and careful until the road has completely dried.
Avoiding Multi-Car Crashes
In a study that investigated more than one hundred fatal “chain reaction” car accidents, researchers found that weather played a role in more than half of the crashes. Proactive driver precautions can help prevent many of these types of accidents.
First, slow down during wet weather. Posted speed limits are meant for ideal driving conditions. Not only does slowing down make it easier to maintain control of your car on slippery roads, but also it decreases both the amount of distance needed to stop and the likelihood of sustaining a severe injury should a crash occur
Second, check your tires. Tire treads shallower than 2/32″ are unsafe and can contribute to hydroplaning.
Third, regularly check and maintain vehicle safety features. Ensure that non-functioning headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are replaced promptly, and discard worn out windshield wipers. Taking these steps will increase your ability to see and respond to hazards and make your own vehicle more visible to other drivers.
Finally, always wear a seatbelt. While seatbelts may not prevent an accident from occurring, they can help you maintain control of your vehicle after impact, effectively reducing the likelihood of any secondary collisions.
What to Do If a Multi-Car Crash Occurs
Even if you’ve done everything you can to prevent an accident, you still may find yourself involved in a weather-related multi-vehicle crash. In the event you are involved in such an accident, you should follow some basic safety protocols.
First, while it may be tempting to get out of your car and assess the scene, in most cases you should remain in your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until emergency responders give the all-clear. If severe weather is present, reduced visibility and slick roads will increase the likelihood of additional impacts.
Second, turn on your hazard lights. This step will help other drivers see and avoid you, which is especially important in poor weather conditions.
Finally, after you’ve received appropriate medical care, contact an experienced attorney. Multi-vehicle accidents often involve complicated claims and navigating the legal system while suffering from a serious injury can be overwhelming. Thankfully, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Hasner Law PC have represented Atlanta accident victims for years and understand how to maximize the potential for recovery.
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