How Wet Weather Affects Car Crashes in Maryville Tennessee

Call car crash attorneys Shepherd & Long, PC if you were injured in a weather-related car accident.  It’s always challenging driving in the rain. This year has been especially tough, as Tennessee has had to cope with heavy storms and Hurricane Ida. Driving in torrential downpours makes it nearly impossible to drive, but light rains can be treacherous, too. Just a light drizzle can cause oil in the asphalt to mix with water, creating very slick surfaces. Many drivers think a light rain doesn’t make a difference, when the reality is that the slick oily surface can cause hydroplaning, a dangerous situation where a car’s tires can’t grip the road.

How deadly are weather-related car accidents?

According to the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, there are 5,891,000 vehicle crashes each year. Nearly 20% of those crashes are due to bad weather. Inclement weather includes rain, heavy winds, fog, snow, and sleet. About 5,000 people die yearly due to weather-related car accidents and over 418,000 people are injured.

Rain can cause slick roads every day of the year, and snow and ice can cause slushy and icy roads during the winter. Nearly seven in 10 weather-related car accidents are due to wet roads. About 46% are due to the rain.

How do wet and rainy roads affect driving?

Rainy weather affects drivers in many ways. Drivers are responsible for anticipating the rain and responding to rainy conditions by taking proper precautions. Motorists can also be held accountable for car accidents even if the rain has stopped, if the roads are still wet and they fail to exercise caution.

Common rain and wet road hazards include:

  • Vision. The harder it rains, the harder it is to see. Even intermittent rain can cause vision problems as drivers try to decide whether to use their windshield wipers.
  • Traction. Any type of moisture can make it hard for your tires to grip the road. Driving your car through huge puddles or water runoffs is doubly dangerous, because the water can also affect your brakes.
  • Stopping distance. Drivers need much more distance to stop their vehicles when the roads are wet than when the roads are dry. This is because reaction times are longer when it rains and because wet roads provide less traction. Also, many drivers are likely to stop suddenly when visibility is low.
  • Flash flooding. When rain is extreme, drivers need to prepare for trees and power lines that may fall into their path. Drivers should know when they should stop and when they may need to abandon their car altogether.

Drivers in Maryville need to be extra careful when it rains because the traffic all around is likely to slow as the rain gets worse.

Precautions to consider when driving in rainy weather

If you’re driving on US-411 or any other Maryville roads, consider the following safety precautions:

  • Checking your car before you drive. You should regularly check your tire tread and pressure. If you notice the brakes are noisy or aren’t functioning smoothly, have them checked out immediately. Make sure your windshield wipers also work properly.
  • Drive slowly. It should go without saying that you need to drive slower when the roads are wet, even if it means driving below the speed limit. You’ll need more time to react and more time to stop.
  • Keep farther back from other cars. Keep a safe distance away from cars in front of you. You should also consider shifting lanes if someone is following you too closely.
  • Drive in a slower gear. Most cars should have slower gears than the normal drive gear. Slower gears help give your more control of your car.
  • Put your lights on. Your lights help you see other vehicles, especially if the clouds block out the sun. Just as critically, your lights help other cars see you. Many states have laws requiring your lights be on if your wipers are on.
  • Don’t use cruise control. Drivers must be able to slow down so they can handle emergencies quickly.

If the rain is too strong, move to the shoulder of the road and stop until it’s safe to travel again. Never drive in the rain, or any time, while you’re distracted or tired.

Liability for wet-weather accidents in Maryville

In most cases, the driver who slid or crashed into you is responsible for your injuries or for the wrongful death of a loved one. It is the very rare case where a driver can blame the weather, under the claim that the accident was an act of God.

The owners of the car are generally liable for any accidents the driver of the car causes, provided they gave the driver permission to use their car.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation or other governmental entities/agencies may be liable if they failed to protect the public from extreme weather conditions.

Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can also be held liable if a defective car part causes a rainy day accident.

At Shepherd and Long, PC, our Maryville car accident lawyers hold drivers responsible for rainy day car accidents when their negligence behind the wheel causes you harm. If defective brakes, tires, or windshield wipers caused your car accident, we file product liability claims against the makers and sellers of these defective parts.

We demand compensation for your medical bills, your pain and suffering, your lost income, and the damage to your vehicle. We’ve been helping East Tennessee and Blount County residents assert their rights for more than 30 years. To discuss your car accident claim with a respected trial lawyer, call us at  865-982-8060 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.