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9. Auto Accidents: Causes & Prevention

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176

Rain

While driving in the rain, you should:

  • obtain maximum visibility with low beam headlights and windshield wipers
  • reduce your speed below that for dry conditions
  • decrease your speed when entering a curve
  • stay on the paved portion of highway
  • drive in the tracks of the car ahead
  • allow a greater distance between you and the car ahead
  • avoid sudden stops or turns
  • Use your low-beam headlights whenever it is raining. To improve visibility, you may have to stop to wipe mud or snow off of your windshield, headlights, and taillights.

    Slow down at the first sign of rain, drizzle, or snow on the road. This is when many road pavements are most slippery because oil and dust have not been washed off the roadway. In other words, the roadway is usually the most slippery when it just starts to rain and it has not rained for some time . If the road is slippery, it will not give your tires the traction they need to make quick stops, and maneuver turns and corners. You must drive more slowly than you would on a dry road.

    If it starts to rain on a hot day, pavement can be slippery for the first few minutes. Heat causes the oil in the asphalt to come to the surface. It makes the road more slippery until the oil is washed away.

    If the roadway is wet, you should travel at least 5 to 10 MPH slower than you normally would. In a very heavy rainstorm, you may not be able to see more than 100 feet ahead. When you cannot see any farther than that, you cannot safely drive faster than 30 MPH.

    Choose a speed consistent with the amount of water on the road. At 30 miles per hour or less, properly inflated tires with good tread will maintain contact. Even a brand-new tire will lose some footprint contact at 35 miles per hour. At 50 miles per hour, water may separate the tire from the road and cause hydroplaning.

    Hydroplaning is when your tires lose contact with the road and are riding on a thin sheet of water. You have no traction while hydroplaning. It can occur at 50 mph or less in heavy rain, and is more likely to happen if your speed is high, your tires lack tread depth, and your vehicle is light. A slight gust of wind could throw your vehicle into a skid. To regain control, you need to take your foot off the accelerator, but do not brake.

    You should slow down whenever there is a lot of water on the road to avoid hydroplaning. Look for signs of hydroplaning such as standing water, raindrops that bubble on the road or a sloshing sound from your tires. This is your opportunity to slow down and avoid hard braking or turning sharply. Drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you and increase the distance between you and the forward vehicle.

    If it begins to rain so hard while you are driving that you cannot see very far in front of your vehicle, slow down and get off the roadway as soon as possible. Be careful of other drivers who have also reduced their speed or who are exiting the roadway as well. Keep your parking or hazard lights on when parked on the side of the road.

    Lesson Summary


      

    Lesson 9 Quiz


    You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

    You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

    1. Failure to yield is the primary cause of what percentage of fatal and injury collisions?


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    2. If you have a tire blowout:


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    3. If you are distracted for one second, by a cell phone, passenger, or other distraction, at 30 mph you will travel how far "blindly"?


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    4. Teenage drivers have a total accident rate that is _____ times that of adults:


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    5. To avoid tailgating, and help avoid a rear-end collision, you should give yourself a gap of how many seconds behind the car in front of you?


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