As Hurricane Florence continues to make its way towards the East Coast, AAA has urged Tennessee drivers to be prepared for strong storms and heavy rainfall, even though we're not expecting to see some of the major flooding that's projected for the Carolinas.
Heavy rainfall can create hazardous driving conditions and limit visibility – making it crucial for drivers to adjust their usual driving style.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1.2 million traffic crashes occur each year on wet pavement with more than a half million injuries and 5,700 deaths.
It’s important to remember that driving in rain or on roads with standing water requires drivers to change their driving style,” said Stephanie Milani, Tennessee Public Affairs Director, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Drivers should decrease their speed, increase following distance and, in order to be more visible to other drivers, always use headlights in the rain.”
AAA has a few tips to help keep you safe on roadways:
- Prepare a vehicle emergency kit: Include a flashlight and extra batteries, an umbrella or poncho, flares or warning triangles, cell phone charger, non-perishable food and drinking water, a first aid kit and a basic tool kit.
- Slow down and leave plenty of room between you and other cars: Slowing down during wet weather driving can be critical to reducing a car’s chance of hydroplaning. Drivers should reduce their speed to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. At speeds as low as 35 mph, new tires can still lose some contact with the roadway.
- Increase following distance: It’s important for motorists to allow plenty of stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance of the vehicle in front of them. Drivers should scan the road ahead of them so they can react to slowing traffic ahead.
- Use headlights: Turn on your headlights but avoid using your high beams because you could blind other drivers and the extra light will reflect off the rain, causing more of a distraction for you.
- Check tires: Make sure tires are properly inflated and have enough tread depth. This will allow the vehicle to have better traction and maneuverability on the road. Check the tread depth of your car’s tires by inserting a quarter upside down into a tire groove. If you can see above Washington’s head at any point, it’s time for new tires.
- Don’t use cruise control: When used in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle can increase. To prevent loss of traction, the driver may need to reduce speed by lifting off the accelerator, which you can’t do when cruise control is engaged.
- Don’t use flashers: Flashers should only be used when a vehicle is stopped.
- If your vehicle stalls in water, do not remain in the car: Abandon it as soon as possible and seek higher ground. Flood waters can elevate quickly.
- If your vehicle shuts down in water, don’t try and restart it: Restarting a vehicle in standing water can cause more water to enter the engine and could cost thousands of dollars to repair.