How does wet weather affect driving conditions?

Many people may complain that other motorists have trouble driving in bad weather in Alabama. Whether or not you are comfortable behind the wheel in adverse conditions, your risk of a collision is statistically greater at these times. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, there is an annual average of over 1.25 million traffic accidents each year directly related to weather and slick road surfaces.

Although you may immediately think of snow, ice or fog when you think of harsh weather, data shows that you are more likely to be in a crash during or after rainfall. One of the factors affected significantly is speed. If you are driving on the highway during heavy rain, you can expect the flow of traffic to be moving 3 to 16 percent more slowly than normal. On main roads in the city, traffic speeds may decrease 10 to 25 percent. This often causes serious congestion at traffic signals, where drivers may take up to 50 percent longer to take off from a standstill.

As you navigate the traffic caused by wet weather, you should consider what aspects affect your own driving behaviors in addition to compensation for other drivers’ capabilities. For example, your vehicle is more likely to skid on wet pavement due to low friction between the tires and the road surface, so greater following and braking distances are necessary. The amount of water on the roadway is another issue to be taken into account. Allowing yourself more travel time and staying fully alert to conditions are keys to reducing your risk of an auto accident during inclement weather.

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