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Do summer thunderstorms cause car accidents?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2023 | Car Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents increase in number every summer. Some of the accidents are due to more people heading out on road trips and more people under the influence after enjoying a fun day at the beach. However, some of the accidents are because of the weather.

Summer is a season of sun, sand and, unfortunately, thunderstorms. While these thunderstorms can provide respite from the heat, they also pose a serious hazard to drivers. As the weather changes rapidly, drivers can find themselves in dangerous conditions that increase the risk of car accidents.

Thunderstorms make driving harder

One of the main ways summer thunderstorms contribute to car accidents is through decreased visibility. Heavy rain can obscure the view of the road, making it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles, traffic signals or road signs. Reduced visibility often leads to increased braking distances, making accidents more likely if drivers do not adjust their speed accordingly.

Thunderstorms can also lead to hydroplaning, a hazardous condition where a vehicle loses traction due to water on the roadway. When tires cannot displace water fast enough, a thin layer of water forms between the tires and the road surface, leading to a loss of control of the vehicle. Drivers are at a higher risk of hydroplaning when they are driving at higher speeds.

Furthermore, thunderstorms often come with high winds. These winds can make it difficult to control a vehicle, particularly larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs. High winds can also blow debris onto the road, creating additional hazards for drivers.

How to stay safe

When driving in a thunderstorm, drivers should reduce their speed to account for the decreased visibility and increased braking distances. Turning on headlights and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles can also improve safety.

For hydroplaning, the best prevention is ensuring tires have proper tread depth and are correctly inflated. If a driver feels their vehicle beginning to hydroplane, it is essential to stay calm, ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction they want to go. Making any sudden turns or slamming on the brakes will cause the vehicle to spin out of control.

Summer is a time to get out and enjoy the warm weather with friends and family. However, drivers should not ignore the potential car accident risks of thunderstorms. By understanding these risks and taking appropriate safety measures, drivers can navigate through these storms with increased confidence and safety.