Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year in Northern New Jersey, but as we all know it’s also one of the rainiest, which unfortunately makes getting into a car accident a lot more likely. The slippery roads, low visibility, and high winds that occur during stormy weather can cause serious dangers for drivers, so it’s always good to refresh yourself on how to stay safe on rainy roads. Below I’ll tell you about some proven ways to avoid an accident this spring and when it may be time to seek help from a Passaic County personal injury attorney.
Rainproof Your Vehicle
If you haven’t examined your windshield wipers, brakes, and head and taillights lately, now is the time to do it. Any wear or tear to these components of your vehicle can increase your chances of getting in a car accident in bad weather. A good place to start is by testing your windshield wipers. If they are unable to remove water in a single swipe or leaving streaks, it’s time for a replacement pair. Next, double-check that your lights and signals are all working, as both are vital to maintaining visibility in cloudy or rainy weather. Finally, don’t forget to make sure your tires are properly inflated and have good tread. Last but not least, check your brakes and make sure they’re able to stop you even when conditions are not ideal.
Check Your Speed
Driving too fast in poor conditions is one of the top causes of accidents. Under New Jersey Statute 39:4-98, motorists are required to adjust their speed in accordance with weather and highway conditions.
While you’ve probably noticed that many drivers speed and drive unsafely in the rain, you can set a good example, keep yourself safe, and avoid getting a traffic ticket by reducing your speed. In addition, if you drive too fast on a wet road, even if another driver hits your vehicle, you can be held partially responsible for the accident. This means you’ll receive reduced compensation from your insurance company. Avoid all of these issues by slowing down and maneuvering safely.
Keep Your Distance
Even in good conditions, you should drive at a distance of three seconds behind the car in front of you. In rainy weather, you should increase this to at least five seconds since it will take much longer for you to safely slow down.
During rainy weather, always give yourself additional time to stop and when you do apply the brakes, do so gradually rather than suddenly. Failing to do this can cause hydroplaning: and once you lose control of your steering and brakes, it can send your vehicle off the road in the blink of an eye.
Skip the Cruise Control
We all love cruise control because it makes driving at a consistent speed significantly easier, but in rainy weather it can actually cause safety hazards. Using cruise control on a wet road can make you more likely to lose traction and lose control of your vehicle. By turning cruise control off during rainy weather, you’ll be able to better focus on driving safely and react more quickly to dangerous situations.
Remember Your Lights
Under New Jersey Statute 39:3-46, you must use your headlights when visibility is 500 feet or less. What many people don’t know, however, is that you must also turn on your lights whenever you are using your windshield wipers or when fog, mist, or other conditions cause reduced visibility.
When you turn your lights on, you immediately help other drivers see you, which makes driving safer for everyone.
What to do if an Accident Happens
Even if we take every safety measure possible, an accident can still of course happen. While we may be driving safely ourselves, there is nothing we can do to prevent other drivers’ unsafe choices from causing a crash. If you get in an accident in rainy weather and believe the other party is at fault, make sure to call the police, file a report, and get in touch with a personal injury lawyer right away. Since you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries, as well as for any damage to your vehicle and pain and suffering, it is in your best interest to do this as soon as possible after your accident.
If you need help, Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli offers free consultations and can help give you a clearer understanding of your rights. We believe in giving all of our clients caring and compassionate legal help, and would love to help you, as well. Stay safe on the roads this winter, and don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation with our Passaic County personal injury attorneys.
Contact us today at 973-785-9522.