Why Thunderstorms Present Some Driving Danger

Lightnings and storm over forest at night.

Everyone who’s driven through a thunderstorm knows just how daunting it can be. The rain, the wind, the lightning, the total lack of visibility – these factors all combine to make driving as stressful as possible. Not only that, but they significantly increase the risk of an accident. And that’s the last thing you want.

Understanding the dangers associated with driving during a storm is the only way to help you prepare better and navigate safely through stormy weather. Here’s why thunderstorms are particularly perilous for drivers like you:

Reduced Visibility, Hydroplaning, and Dragging

Thunderstorms almost always bring heavy rain, which makes it harder to see the road ahead, traffic signals, and other cars. This diminished visibility is one of the leading causes of accidents during storms.

Another leading cause of collisions is the water that pools on the road. When you drive through these puddles too quickly, your tires can lose contact with the pavement. This is called hydroplaning and it will cause your vehicle to slide uncontrollably, increasing the risk of collisions with other vehicles or roadside barriers. Meanwhile, standing water, especially on the outside edges of the freeway can cause your vehicle to suddenly pull to the side with the increased drag,

Increased Likelihood of Accidents

Thunderstorms can cause drivers to react unpredictably—braking suddenly or swerving to avoid standing water or debris. This can be dangerous, especially when the road is busy, potentially causing multi-vehicle accidents.

Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be a thunderstorm without lightning. While lightning strikes are rare, they can cause electrical failures and startle drivers when they do happen. These strikes can also bring down tree branches into the road while the wind sweeps up other debris, creating obstacles that you may not be able to see until it’s too late.

How to Drive Safely During Thunderstorms

The best way to stay safe during a thunderstorm is to avoid driving all together. But if you have to drive in a storm, you can at least arm yourself with the knowledge of how to do so safely. Reducing speed as much as possible and increasing the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you gives you more time to react to sudden stops or changes in conditions. You should also always turn on your headlights to make it easier to see and also ensure your windshield wipers are working.

If you are able to avoid any standing or pooled water, do so. But if you have to pass through it, turn off cruise control, slow down as much as you reasonably can, and don’t suddenly accelerate until you’ve passed it. Try to drive in the tracks of the person in front of you, as they may have already displaced some of the water from the road. It’s also wise to ensure your tires are always properly inflated.

If you find yourself having to travel during a storm, these tips can help keep you and others safe. However, accidents can still happen despite precautions. Here at 4N6XPRT Systems, we have sophisticated tools, including forensic car accident reconstruction software, that can provide valuable insights. Our software is highly accurate, providing you with the information you need for court, insurance, or other purposes. Give us a call at 619-464-3478  to learn more today!