Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

What Should I Do If I’m Caught in Heavy Rain While Driving?

Published on Jun 13, 2022 at 8:57 am in Car Accidents.

What Should I Do If I'm Caught in Heavy Rain While Driving?

Anyone who enjoys a lovely day of rain must find Louisville, KY a wonderful place to call home. While the average annual rainfall in the United States is only 38 inches, Louisville enjoys about 46 inches of rain every year.

All that rain is not without hazards, though. Heavy rainfall can make it difficult for drivers to navigate the road successfully and safely. If you are ever caught in heavy rain while driving, Thomas Law Offices suggest that drivers adhere to the following advice to avoid being involved in a car accident.

Slow Down

The easiest way to limit your chance of being involved in a car accident while it is raining is simple—slow down. When you are caught in heavy rain while behind the wheel, reduce your speed to lower than the posted speed limit. Only travel as fast as it feels safe to. If you are unsure of what to do, try matching your speed to other drivers who have also slowed down, although reducing your speed by approximately one-third is generally well-advised.

Driving in heavy rain is dangerous for numerous reasons, including:

  • Limited visibility. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) encourages drivers to constantly scan the road around them. This means looking ahead two blocks in urban areas, three blocks or three traffic signals ahead in suburban areas, and about a quarter of a mile ahead in rural areas. Heavy rain limits visibility, making it impossible to look much farther ahead than perhaps a few feet. To give yourself time to react, you should always slow your speed and create distance between vehicles.
  • Longer stopping distances. It can take as much as twice as long to come to a stop during heavy rain than during ideal driving conditions when roads are dry. Speed also plays a factor in stopping distance, meaning that the faster you drive, the longer it takes to stop. Speed and heavy rain can be a deadly combination as you may not be able to come to a full and complete stop should a hazard arise.

Rainwater will also mix with any oil and grease produced by motor vehicles left on the roadway. This makes roads even slicker and more difficult for tires to gain and maintain traction. Slowing down when you are caught in heavy rain while driving will help prevent hydroplaning.

Don’t Use Your Hazard Lights

Drivers are often tempted to turn on their hazard lights during periods of heavy rain to make themselves more visible to other drivers. This has the opposite of the intended effect.

Turning on your hazards while driving through heavy rain will decrease your and other drivers’ visibility. Light is reflected off the raindrops as they fall, creating a glare and limiting your ability to see much else beyond it. For this same reason, you should also avoid turning on your high beams when it is raining.

Using your hazard lights can also falsely lead other drivers to believe that there is an emergency. When proceeding through an area of heavy rain, drivers should only be focused on the task at hand and not on trying to determine whether there is a nearby emergency for which they should call 911. To keep yourself and everyone else safe, Thomas Law Offices strongly recommends that hazard lights never be used to increase visibility during heavy rain.

Avoid Flooded Roads

Never drive through areas with standing water. There are a few reasons why rain can accumulate on the roadway.

  • Inefficient city drains. Drains are only able to handle so much runoff during rainy weather. When rainfall is particularly heavy, the drains can be overwhelmed and unable to handle the volume, leaving water nowhere else to go. Debris that blocks drains can also cause standing water on roads.
  • Already wet ground and soil. While you might look forward to a rainy day and think about how much the plants will love it, the truth is that the ground beneath our feet can only absorb so much water at once. During heavy rain, the ground may reach maximum absorption more quickly, which leaves nowhere for water on the road to run off.
  • Poorly designed roads. Although any road may be subject to a design flaw, older roads are especially prone to following the natural ups and downs of the land. When a road follows a natural dip, it creates a curve in which rainwater may collect much more quickly than in other areas.

If you encounter a flooded road with standing water, turn around or find a different route. If this is not possible, wait until the water has receded before continuing safely on your journey. Water can easily sweep a vehicle off the road even if it does not appear to be flowing that fast. Even if your vehicle is not swept away, it might become stuck, leaving you stranded until the rainwater recedes.

Pull Over if Necessary

It does not matter how close you might be to your destination—if conditions seem too dangerous to drive, pull over. Doing so can be tricky if you’re caught in heavy rain while driving, though. Since visibility is limited, you must be sure that you pull your vehicle over in a place that is safe.

If you are on a highway or interstate, the shoulder of the road should be large enough to safely move your vehicle over into. Look for a parking lot that you can safely pull into while you wait out the rain when traveling through more urban or suburban areas.

Although it may add time to your journey, it is always better to arrive late and safe than to never arrive at all.

Taking Action After a Car Accident in Heavy Rain

While there is no denying that inclement weather can play a role in car accidents, drivers are still responsible for behaving as safely as possible while behind the wheel. If you were caught in heavy rain while driving and the driver who caused your accident was not acting safely for the conditions, you can potentially hold them responsible for your injuries, medical bills, auto repairs, and additional damages related to your accident.

At Thomas Law Offices, we are dedicated to helping those who have been injured through no fault of their own. If you are ready to move forward with a personal injury claim, contact us to schedule your free consultation. We’ll help you deal with the insurance company to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Legal & Firm News

The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Fun in Columbia, MO – 2022 Edition

As magical as they may be, we all know the holidays can be stressful. Thomas Law Offices is pleased to present our 2022 edition of The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Fun in Columbia, MO—a list we hope will take just a bit of chaos out of the season. We’ve compiled some of the best events, […]

Read More

The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Fun in Chicago – 2022 Edition

Chicago may see its fair share of bitterly cold weather and experience what seems like endless snowfalls during its long winters. However, that doesn’t stop our midwestern city’s residents and tourists from making the rounds to local festivities to celebrate the seasonal spirit, nearby shops while on the hunt for unique gifts, or hidden gem […]

Read More

What Are the Three Most Common Complaints About Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes provide an essential service to the citizens of our communities. These long-term care facilities are meant to be a haven where residents can enjoy safety, health, emotional wellbeing, and meaningful social relationships—while receiving the hands-on, round-the-clock care their age or condition requires. But like any type of organization, there are good nursing homes, […]

Read More
Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
National Civil Justice Institute - Trustee
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
Martindale Hubbell Preeminent
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion