The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted a third consecutive La Niña winter for the United States, which means colder, wetter conditions for drivers in the Pacific Northwest. Whether you are driving locally in Federal Way, Washington or across the greater Puget Sound area, the best way to avoid weather-related car accidents and motorcycle accidents is to be prepared, avoid driving in extreme weather whenever possible, and know how to react when you encounter adverse conditions on the road.
70% of weather-related auto accidents occur when the pavement is wet
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 1,235,000 weather-related automobile accidents take place each year. 46% of those accidents happen during rainfall, and 70% occur when the pavement is wet. Fewer daylight hours and earlier dark can also reduce visibility and heighten the risk of a car or motorcycle accident. However, winter driving does not have to be scary or overwhelming. Use these top tips to help you keep you and your loved ones safe in wet, winter conditions.
Save Time and Stress: Prepare Before You Drive
- Replace your tires if the tread is less than 1/16th of an inch, and switch to winter tires when necessary
- Check your tire pressure and test your battery power before your trip (both drop as the temperature goes down)
- Ensure that your wiper fluid reservoir is full with winter fluid and fill up your gas tank before heading out
- Check the weather along your route, build in extra time if you need it, and let others know your route and estimated time of arrival (ETA)
Prevent Accidents and Injury: Remain Cautious on the Road
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly
- Increase your following distance to 8 to 10 seconds on slippery roads
- Tires lose approximately one-third of their traction on wet pavement. When driving on wet roads, reduce your speed by about a third
- Slow down when approaching intersections, offramps, sharp turns, spots with poor visibility, or anywhere people may be getting in and out of their vehicles (like chain-up areas)
- Avoid using cruise control in wet or winter driving conditions—if you lose traction on slippery roads, cruise control could keep your car accelerating
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones: What To Do When You Encounter Trouble
- Ease your foot off the gas when you hydroplane or start to slide, then gently steer the direction you want your front tires to go
- If you are having trouble stopping, apply steady pressure to anti-lock brakes or gently pump standard brakes
- If conditions become unsafe for driving, pull off the road to a safe location (try to avoid pulling to the shoulder if possible). Make your car as visible as possible using flares, emergency flashers, or bright markers on the antenna or windows
We hope these tips help keep you safer on the roads this winter.
Give Yourself the Best Chance of a Fair Settlement
While we all do our best to drive safely and avoid accidents, wet, slippery conditions and low visibility during winter rain and snow can lead to getting rear-ended. If you are rear ended or involved in a car accident, attorney David Ranz is ready to advocate on your behalf, protect your rights, and help you negotiate a fair settlement so you can focus on your recovery. Motorcyclists face added peril in hazardous driving conditions. An avid motorcycle rider for many years himself, David Ranz is an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who understands the unique challenges motorcyclists face and is ready to fight hard on your behalf.
If you are involved in a car accident or motorcycle accident this winter, call or text Ranz Injury Law at (206) 429-5227 to get a free, no-obligation initial case evaluation. If you retain Ranz Injury Law to represent you, you pay nothing out of pocket. There are no fees if there is no settlement.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – U.S. Winter Outlook
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) – How Do Weather Events Impact Roads?
- Insurance Research Council – Paying for auto injuries: a consumer panel survey of auto accident victims
- National Safety Council (NSC) – Be Prepared for Winter Driving
- Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) – Winter driving tips
- Virginia Tire & Auto – Driving in the Rain: 10 Tips for Safe Driving
- Driving Tests – 10 Excellent Tips to Navigate Winter Roads Like a Pro