How Much Does Rain Increase the Chance of Getting Into a Car Accident?


It’s no secret that driving in the rain poses additional risks: Wet roads can cause cars to slide due to a loss of tire traction, vibrate, or hydroplane. Add to that increased winds, heavier traffic, and stressed out people, and you have a recipe for disaster.

But realistically speaking, how much does rain really increase the chance of getting into a car accident and what can you do to prevent one?

Rain and Car Accidents

In a nutshell, yes, weather is one of the most common causes of car accidents. You know this is true: Even with all the people on Florida roads boasting an “eternal summer” license plate, everyone who’s lived here long enough knows that just about every day during summer months Tampa Bay gets hit pretty hard with thunderstorms.

Commutes get more congested, visibility is affected, and people are in less than pleasant moods while maneuvering their vehicles on slippery roads.

How to Prevent a Car Accident in the Rain

While rain does increase the likelihood of being involved in a car accident, there are several things you can do to avoid one:

1. Inspect your car. Next time you take your car in for an oil change, have the mechanic inspect the tires, wipers, headlights, and tail lights. If anything needs repairing, plan accordingly. It’s better to take care of it now than to find out during a storm that you’re having issues with any of these parts.

2. Turn on your headlights. Florida Statutes § 316.217 requires all motorists to turn their headlights on any time there’s rain, smoke, or fog, and from sunset to sunrise.

3. Keep enough distance between you and the car in front of you. We know this is the kind of advice most people have heard from their grandparents. But leaving at least two car lengths between you and the next driver should allow enough reaction time to avoid an accident.

4. Slow down. Speeding substantially increases the chance of a car accident, since it takes away a lot of the control you would otherwise have over your vehicle. Reaction time is reduced which affects the ability to brake on time. This reduction in time increases the force of impact and the chance of hydroplaning on flooded roads.

5. Avoid distracted driving. In addition to checking emails or social media or texting while driving, other culprits for accidents caused by distracted driving include being caught up in conversation with other passengers, eating, grooming, and taking selfies.

6. Don’t drive through standing water. It’s hard to know exactly how deep the water is, and you could end up unable to move an inoperable car. In cases where the water is relatively shallow, you increase the chance of hydroplaning. Now, for the sake of safety, if you do hydroplane, don’t slam on the brakes, since this would cause your car to spin. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and steer the car in the direction you want it to go.

7. Wear your seatbelt. This precaution alone will ensure that even if you are in a car accident, the likelihood of serious injuries is diminished by about 50%.

What to Do if Rain Caused Your Car Accident

If you’ve already been involved in a car crash, it’s time to do damage control.

1. Never admit fault. Even if you think you were at fault, let the evidence prove it. If there were any witnesses or surveillance cameras, they can be used to reconstruct the case. Also, while you may be partly at fault, so could be the other party. This is not an either/or situation.

Florida is a comparative negligence jurisdiction. This means that even if you were partly to blame, your ability to recover any compensation would be reduced only by the percentage of your fault. For example, you crash against someone named Joe and sustained $20,000 in damages. You are 50% at fault and Joe is 50% at fault. You would still have a claim for $10,000.00. So don’t ruin your chances of recovering any compensation by trying to recollect events while still under the stress of it.

2. Move your vehicle out of the way of oncoming traffic. This is actually required by law since not doing so increases the risk of someone else being involved in the accident. Once you’re out of traffic, exchange information with the other driver. If there’s any damage, call a police officer to document the accident. Take as many pictures as possible, and look around to see if there are any security cameras in nearby businesses. If there are, write down the name and address of the business. If you intend to use the footage as evidence, your attorney has to request the business to preserve it within a specific time frame.

3. Speak with an attorney who’s specifically experienced with car accident issues as soon as possible. This is because there are time limitations to making certain claims. For example, under Personal Injury Protection (PIP) laws, you have to file your claim with your car insurance company within 14 days of the accident. If you do it during that time frame, your policy is required by law to provide up to 80% of medical bills to the following people:

  • Named insured
  • Relatives residing in the same household
  • Persons operating the insured motor vehicle
  • Passengers in the motor vehicle
  • Other persons struck by the motor vehicle

Call Clark Hartpence Law if You’ve Been in a Car Accident in Tampa Bay

If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Hartpence Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients involved in motor vehicle accidents, and we can help you determine the best next step.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.