To help you stay safe on slick roads this year, use this must-know information when driving in the rain.
of traffic fatalities by 27%.
Major Safety Impacts of Heavy Rain
When there is heavy or prolonged rainfall:
- Stay home when possible
- Never drive through moving water or over a washed-out roadway
- Avoid areas prone to flooding, like low spots, drainage ditches, dips in the road, stream beds, and canyons.
Landslides and mudslides are also dangerous side effects of heavy rain. Areas with erosion issues and poor slope stability are especially vulnerable. Highway 18 in Federal Way suffered from landslides in the spring of 2022, and the risk is present any time the region receives heavy or long-lasting rainfall.
Watch for these landslide warning signs:
- Land movement
- Changes in patterns of stormwater drainage on slopes
- Small slides
- Unusual sounds of rushing water
- Rumbling sounds
- Progressively tilted fences, trees, or utility poles
You can learn about higher-risk areas of Federal Way by checking the Critical Areas Map, which identifies high-risk zones for erosion and landslides and other features of the area.
Safety Tips While Driving In Heavy Rain
- Replace your windshield wiper blades every 6-12 months. Utilizing wipers and your car’s defroster to keep your windshield clear can be helpful in misty rain conditions.
- Turn your headlights on when it is raining, but not your brights. Washington requires drivers to turn their headlights on in conditions of poor visibility, like those caused by heavy rainfall. However, high beams will reflect off wet surfaces and can bounce back into your eyes, especially when it is misty or foggy. They can also temporarily blind oncoming drivers, which is why Washington law requires drivers to turn off high beams within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle.
- Leave a greater following distance. This helps avoid accidents and also helps prevent road spray kicked up by the vehicle in front from obstructing your vision.
- Slow down significantly in heavy rain. You are less likely to hydroplane below 35 miles per hour.
- Pull off the road when conditions become unsafe. When in doubt, wait for better weather to make your trip.
What To Do When an Accident Happens
While these tips help prepare you to drive on wet roads around Federal Way, rainfall and the conditions that surround it can, unfortunately, increase your risk of getting rear-ended. When you are involved in a car accident or motorcycle accident, experienced car accident attorney David Ranz is ready to help protect your rights and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. Call or text Ranz Law at (206) 429-5227 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
- Statista – Annual precipitation in the United States in 2021 by state
- City of Federal Way – Surface Water Management
- Federal Way Mirror – Flash floods hit Federal Way
- North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies – Precipitation and Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes
- Washington State Legislature – RCW 46.37.020
- Washington State Legislature – RCW 46.37.230
- National Weather Service – Severe Weather Awareness – Flood Safety
- MyNorthwest – Landslide blocks westbound lanes of Highway 18 in Federal Way on Wednesday
- Ready – Landslides & Debris Flow
- City of Federal Way – Critical Areas Map