Rain happens — accidents shouldn’t

Nevada has the lowest average rainfall in the country, with an average yearly precipitation of 9.54 inches, according to the National Climatic Data Center. However, the recent effects of rain on traffic are still significant. In fact, record rainfall in Las Vegas on January 11, 2015 led to 143 crashes in 10 hours, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol. Thirty percent of these were injury accidents.

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MS04_March 2_Apple_Rain Happens Accidents Shouldn't

Many people associate weather-related accidents to icy surfaces typically present during winter conditions. However, according to the United States Department of Transportation, nearly 75 percent occur due to wet pavement. Auto accident attorneys in Las Vegas may find it surprising that only 12 percent happen on icy pavement.

Hazards associated with rain

Rain affects visibility distance, pavement friction and lane obstructions, and these typically lead to heavier traffic and slower speeds. The operational impacts of rain involve vehicle performance issues such as traffic signal timing and speed limit control. Other traffic hazards caused by rain include the following:

  • Driver capabilities and behaviors
  • Road treatment strategies
  • Institutional coordination

Even light rain affects traffic speed, dropping it by 2 to 13 percent while decreasing the capacity of freeways by 4 to 11 percent. Speeds fall by 6 to 17 percent during heavy rain and highway capacity is reduced by 10 to 30 percent. Auto accident attorneys in Las Vegas are aware of the dangers of rain in traffic and believe extra precautions are necessary during these conditions.

Safety tips for wet weather

The American Automobile Association recommends that drivers should slow down to reduce the risk of hydroplaning in rainy or wet conditions. Even 1/12 of an inch of water on the road creates a film that can disconnect tires from the road. Tires must move a gallon of water each second to keep contact with the pavement.

Hydroplaning is not the only risk on wet pavement. There is a loss of traction on roads that are merely wet. In fact, they are most slippery when it begins to rain after a period of dry weather. The oil in the road rises to the top and creates a slick surface until there has been enough rain to wash it away. Hard braking and sharp turns increase the risk of skidding and causing a motor vehicle accident. Drivers should leave plenty of room between vehicles and begin slowing down sooner than normal for stops, turns and traffic situations.

Victims of accidents that occur due to negligent driving during bad weather may be able to receive compensation for the damages the collision caused. Auto accident attorneys in Las Vegas may provide legal advocacy with the goal of achieving adequate compensation for property damage, medical expenses and pain and suffering.