Louisiana receives between 50 and 70 inches of rain each year, which makes the Pelican State the wettest part of the contiguous United States. Even modest amounts of rain can make driving dangerous because it impairs visibility and reduces traction, and the sudden and heavy downpours Louisiana often receives make operating a motor vehicle particularly hazardous. Wet weather causes about a million accidents in the United States each year, but there are things drivers in Louisiana can do to reduce the risks.
Slow down and avoid puddles
Reducing speed in wet weather gives drivers more time to react to emergency situations and reduces the risk of hydroplaning. Vehicles hydroplane when their tires lose contact with the road at high speeds, and it makes steering virtually impossible. Keeping speeds under 50 miles per hour and avoiding large puddles is the best way to prevent this from happening. Checking tires regularly is also advisable as cars with underinflated or bald tires are particularly prone to hydroplaning.
The importance of vehicle maintenance
In addition to checking that their tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread, drivers should make sure that their brakes are working properly, and their lights are clean before venturing out in wet weather. This is important because stopping distances are longer in rainy conditions, and spray can make other vehicles difficult to spot. Drivers should also allow more time to complete journeys in rainy conditions and maintain safe distances at all times.
Drivers have a duty of care
Individuals who fail to take these precautions may be held responsible in civil court if their negligent actions cause auto accidents that injure other road users. Police reports usually describe the weather conditions at the time of a crash and estimate how fast the vehicles involved were traveling, and experienced personal injury attorneys may use them to establish negligence in car accident lawsuits.