Safer driving on slick roads
Driving in the rain can be dangerous — especially when it rains as much as it has in the last few days.
According to the United Sates Department of Transportation, on average, there are more than 950,000 automobile accidents due to wet pavement each year, resulting in approximately 4,700 deaths and 384,000 injuries.
In light of these statistics and the abundance of rainfall we have experienced recently, I want to remind everyone in Bradley County that YOU are the first person responsible for your safety.
That is why it is crucial, for us all to keep the following safety tips in mind when driving in less than ideal weather conditions:
• Turn on your headlights. It is the law in all states to turn on headlights when visibility is low. Turning on your headlights is not just so that you can see; it is so others can see you as well.
• Make sure that your windshield wipers are relatively new. Windshield wipers are your first defense against loosing visibility due to rain, so keeping them up to date is very important.
• Tires can be expensive, but driving on old or balding tires is extremely dangerous, especially when driving in the rain. Relatively new tires can help prevent hydroplaning, skidding and spinning on wet pavement.
• When it comes to hydroplaning, all it takes is one-twelfth of an inch of water on the road and a speed of more than 35 miles per hours for it to occur. If your vehicle begins to hydroplane, slowly lift your foot off of the gas pedal and steer in the direction that your car should be facing until you regain control.
• If your car begins to spin, slowly turn your wheel in the direction that the vehicle is spinning. Do not jerk the wheel sharply in one direction or the other, as this could cause your car to flip over.
• Do not use cruise control when the roads are slick. If you begin to hydroplane while using cruise control, it will cause your car to go faster, which could lead to a more dangerous outcome.
• Remember that the posted speed limit is designated for “ideal conditions,” meaning that you are encouraged to drive BELOW the speed limit in the event of inclement weather.
As an overall rule, take a defensive and cautious approach to driving, especially when the weather is less than ideal. You can’t be responsible for how others drive, but you can be responsible for how you drive!
Let’s all keep driving better every day, so that as a county, we can keep getting better every day.
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