When you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle and faced with a sudden thunderstorm, road conditions can quickly become treacherous. Thunderstorms and heavy rainstorms can quickly reduce visibility and increase the risk of you losing control of your vehicle. If nearby drivers are driving too fast for these difficult conditions, they can make it even more dangerous for you and your passengers.
Driving too fast can lead to hydroplaning, which is one of the biggest dangers of driving on wet roads. The best defense against sudden storms is being prepared and knowing what you should do to stay safe so you can help prevent an accident caused by you or another driver.
Don’t underestimate the power of a thunderstorm. These storms contain lightning, which kills more people annually than hurricanes or tornadoes, according to the American Red Cross. Thunderstorms can contain high winds, which may knock down trees or power lines, and they may trigger flash flooding.
If a thunderstorm hits while you’re driving, remaining in a hard-topped car with all the windows shut can help to keep you safe. A soft-topped vehicle or an open vehicle doesn’t provide as much protection.
Things to Remember While Driving in a Thunderstorm
When you’re driving in heavy rain or in a storm that includes thunder and lightning, immediately slow down your vehicle and drive below the speed limit. Make sure there’s plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. You may also want to turn on the radio to listen for emergency information.
Other tips for driving in thunderstorms include:
- Because of the danger of reduced visibility or flash flooding during a storm, pull off at the nearest exit or pull over when it’s safe to do so on a city street.
- Find shelter if possible.
- If you must remain in the vehicle, turn on your hazard lights and turn off your engine while you wait out the storm.
- There is always a chance that lightning may strike your vehicle. For this reason, avoid touching anything metal such as door handles, mobile GPS devices or cell phone chargers.
- If you’re able to drive slowly, use headlights but not high beams. Wear your seatbelt, and make sure all passengers are wearing their seatbelts.
- Adjust the speed of windshield wipers as needed.
- Don’t use cruise control. It can delay your reactions or your ability to stop quickly. You need to be as alert as possible and focus on the road. Road conditions may change quickly. Pay attention to the possibility of muddy roads or roads blocked by debris.
- Don’t drive into standing water or puddles, which may be deeper than you think. Standing water can cause the car to stall or even to float.
- Stay in the center lane if possible.
- Always drive defensively. Remember that you can’t control the actions of other drivers, so be ready to react to unexpected movements of other cars, which may include loss of control.
- If you were riding a bicycle or driving a motorcycle when the storm hit, don’t take shelter under trees. This may increase the chance of being struck by lightning.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Storm-Related Accident
It seems pretty obvious that drivers should slow down in bad weather, but not all drivers do. Speed is more likely to cause an accident during a storm than any other factor. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Taos Injury Lawyers by filling out the form on this page and we will get in touch with you to discuss your accident and how we can help.