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The road hazards brought on by inclement weather

Winter is on its last legs in Northern Kentucky and spring will arrive soon. But, regardless of the season, drivers must remain careful and cautious when getting behind the wheel in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

Although Kentucky does not experience as much snow as parts of the Midwest, it does get some. Even the smallest amounts affect drivers causing slick and icy roads. With spring and summer come greater chances of rain, leading to slick and hazardous roads.

Kentucky: dangerous state for driving in rain

Please ponder these statistics as they relate to winter driving as the season can bring chaos to Kentucky roads. According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, more than 1,300 people die and an estimated 116,800 sustain injuries each year in motor vehicle crashes caused by icy, slushy and snowy pavement.

When it rains, road dangers mount as well. Consider a study released by Utah-based SafeWise – a national safety group. In reviewing national road statistics from 2016, SafeWise declared Kentucky as the third most dangerous state for driving in the rain

It reviewed the rate of crashes due to inclement weather per 100,000 people. During that year, Kentucky reported 67 fatal road crashes in the rain, leading to 71 fatalities. 1.51 crashes per 100,000, ranking behind Arkansas (1.65 ) and Mississippi (1.54).

Slow down, increase following distance

When inclement weather strikes, here are some driving safety tips to consider:

  • Slow down: Drive slowly. Slick roads make it more difficult to control or stop your car. Hydroplaning is possible in the rain.
  • Increase your following distance: Do not drive too closely to other cars in front of you. Provide them with enough space. Change the four-second following-distance rule to at least eight seconds. You will gain a greater stopping distance.
  • In extreme cases, be careful of flooded roads: Too much rain may lead to flooding conditions and rushing water. You do not want to be swept away in dangerous floodwaters. If a road is blocked off due to flooding, abide by those barriers and turn around. Doing so could save your life.
  • Be alert for cyclists and pedestrians: The rain affects visibility and may make it more difficult to recognize things in your surroundings.

Abide by these tips. Other drivers and your passengers will feel safer.

Take your time

When inclement weather flares up in Kentucky, it can affect most drivers no matter what season. Take care in driving under such questionable conditions. Take your time and remain vigilant.