Safety on the Oregon Roads
Rainy weather is more than just water on the roads; it’s more accidents and more chances that you will need to call lawyers like us.
Here are some rainy weather driving tips to keep you safe on soggy Portland days:
- Be especially careful when it rains after a long dry period. That’s when the oil and grease builds up on the road, and the first rain releases it, creating slippery conditions.
- Give yourself extra time to reach your destination, and drive at a slower pace than normal.
- When you need to stop the car, start braking earlier than usual. This allows room for extra stopping distance. It also signals the driver behind you that you’re planning to come to a stop.
- Take curves and turns especially slowly.
- If possible, drive a little closer to the middle of the road, rather than hugging the right side of the lane. This helps you avoid the large puddles that collect on the side of the road. Also, if you see a large puddle ahead of you, steer around it if you can do so safely, or take a different route. The splash could send water into your car’s engine compartment and damage the electrical system, and puddles can disguise road hazards like potholes. It’s better to go a few blocks out of your way, if necessary.
- If you do cross a puddle, tap your brake lightly to help dry off the rotors.
- Do not use cruise control. If you do, and you hydroplane, it’s possible your car could accelerate.
- Always use headlights in the rain – even if it’s just a sprinkle. Headlights help you see and be seen in wet weather.
- Be especially vigilant about pedestrians. They may have part of their field of vision blocked by rain gear, and the rain tends to muffle sounds that usually alert pedestrians to approaching traffic.
- Finally, if the rain’s so bad that you can’t see the car in front of you, or you’re having difficulty seeing the road, pull over and wait for the storm to die down.
Portlanders might like to think of themselves as experts when it comes to the rain, but even a late-September downpour demonstrated just what resident drivers don’t know. Portlanders on their way to work found themselves sitting in stalled traffic while the accidents were cleared.
But what’s so difficult about driving in a little rain, anyway?
As it turns out, plenty. One problem is that the first rainstorms of the season tend to pull motor oil, grease, and dirt from where it has accumulated on the road. This makes the road slick, not just wet. In addition, water on top of asphalt can cause tires to lose traction. To top it off, rain decreases a driver’s ability to see clearly, reducing visibility through its effect on windshields and headlights.
Although many people do slow down in the rain, others may not be aware of the need for extra caution, or may not know how to best ensure safe rainy-day driving. Or then again, they may dismiss it.
Keep yourself and your passengers safe during fall and winter drizzles and downpours. Rainy roads can be dangerous, but if we all slow down and use extra caution, rainy days might actually be a little brighter this year.