Expert advice for staying safe on wet roads

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CLINTON, S.C. (WSPA) – As Tropical Storm Elsa moved across South Carolina Thursday, patches of heavy rain created slick roads in the Upstate.

AAA said the conditions could create problems on the road for drivers in the path of the storm.

“Road conditions can change quickly when tropical weather arrives,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “If you must be on the road during a storm, keep your headlights on, turn your hazards off, slow down and avoid standing water. If conditions get too severe, find a safe place to pull over until the weather improves.”

According to the Department of Transportation, approximately 21 percent of traffic crashes in the U.S. are weather related. An average of more than 4,000 drivers are killed every year in crashes that occur on wet pavement; nearly 2,500 deaths are from crashes during rainfall. 

AAA shared these safety tips while driving in heavy rain:

  • Check traffic and weather conditions before heading out.
  • Expect longer drive times. Vehicles will likely be moving slower than normal, which may cause traffic congestion. Allow extra time to get to your destination so you do not take any unnecessary risks.
  • Turn headlights On. Turn on your headlights to help you see and be seen. 
  • Do not drive with hazard lights on. This signifies a disabled vehicle, and could confuse approaching motorists; potentially causing a crash.
  • Do not use high beams. The extra light not only blinds oncoming motorists, it also reflects off the rain, causing more of a distraction for you.
  • Slow down to avoid hydroplaning. At speeds as low as 35 mph, new tires can still lose contact with the road. AAA recommends drivers slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you. 
  • Avoid cruise control. When used in wet conditions, the risk of hydroplaning increases. When engaged, cruise control does not allow drivers to back off the accelerator to mitigate a loss of traction. 
  • Allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance from the vehicle in front of you, and beginning to slow down early for intersections, turns and other traffic.
  • Pull over. If you cannot see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance while driving, pull off the road as far as you can and wait for the rain to ease up. Make sure to turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers.
  • Traffic Signal Blackouts are dangerous. If traffic signal lights are not working due to power failure, you must stop at the intersection and then proceed when you know other turning and approaching vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians have stopped. A blacked-out traffic signal works the same as a four-way stop intersection. However, not everyone knows or follows that rule; and some may not realize they are approaching a controlled intersection; so proceed with extreme caution.
  • Comply with the Move Over Law. Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.
  • Drive distraction free. Do not text or engage in distracting activities while driving, including interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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