When is Driving in the Rain Most Dangerous?

It's common sense to take more precautions while driving in the rain, but do you know when rain-covered roads are most dangerous?

The answer: Immediately after it starts raining.

Car driving in the rain on the highwayThe reason for this is simple. Even if you're not able to see it, cars and trucks leave a thin layer of hazardous material on the roads that consist of tire residue, oils, and grease. When it first begins to rain, the water breaks these particles apart, leaving a very slick coating on the road that results in dangerous, slippery conditions, often causing car accidents.

After it’s been raining a while, conditions tend to improve, as the oil is "washed" away. However, until the rain has diluted the slick mixture, puddles can accumulate, and when combined with compromised visibility, often creates additional hazards.

Police, as well as auto clubs, advocate using extreme caution when it starts to rain, especially if it follows a dry spell. The best advice is to do the following:

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
  • Leave plenty of stopping distance between yourself and the car ahead of you.
  • Turn your headlights on.
  • If conditions dictate, pull off the road somewhere safe and wait it out.

Getting somewhere a few minutes earlier isn't worth putting your or others' lives at risk.

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