It has been a rainy October for the Tri-Cities – record levels of rainfall have been documented this month. Over the past few weeks, most of the days have been overcast and gray, raining off and on. Last Thursday, as I was driving through pouring rain from Kennewick to Walla Walla, I passed a serious accident heading westbound on I-182. Multiple ambulances, police cars, and a fire truck were arriving at the scene of the crash, which involved a semi and a couple of cars. The weather was undoubtedly a factor.
Rain is a leading cause of automobile accidents across Washington and throughout the US. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 73% of of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement, and 46% during rainfall. In order to prevent crashing during rainy weather conditions. some precautions are necessary.
Perhaps the most important precaution is just slowing down. Speed limits are set for ideal weather conditions. In the event of heavy rain, higher speeds increase the risk of crashing. Slick roads make it harder for drivers to stop or turn, leading to skidding or rear-ending others.
Additionally, rain makes it harder to see other cars, road signs, and even the road. Keeping windows clean and regularly replacing windshield wipers will help you when you encounter wet conditions. Washington State Law requires that you turn your headlights on thirty minutes after sunset and thirty minutes before sunrise, and if visibility is less than 1000 feet. Turning on your headlights will protect you and fellow drivers during rainy weather.
Lastly, you should stay alert to stay safe! If the weather is worsening, or conditions are becoming dangerous, pull over. It is recommended that you stop at a rest area or other protected area; however, if this isn’t an option, stop on the side of the road. Pull over as far as possible, and make sure to turn on headlights and hazards so as to be visible to other drivers. Waiting for the storm to pass, especially in the Tri-Cities, will typically be less than ten minutes.
If you have any questions or need an attorney regarding weather-related accidents and injuries, call Anderson Law at 509-734-1345.