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Be Safe Driving in the Rain

[UPDATE] Tallahassee, FL - June 25, 2012 5:33pm

AAA says the chances of your car hydroplaning and stalling out increase as Tropical Storm Debby brings more rain to area roads.

Experts offer tips to increase your chances of staying safe while driving in the rain.

It never fails. Every time it rains, there are car accidents.

Eyewitness News ran into a crash on Interstate 10 near Gadsden County Monday morning; and before 2 p.m., there'd been another one near the same spot.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes happen every year on wet pavement, with more than a half million injuries and 5,700 deaths.

Truck Driver Adriana Hernandez says, "Don't step on your brakes. That's the worst thing you can do. That's when you flip over. That's when you see a lot of cars just sitting on the side with the tires up, because they panic and they step on their brakes."

To add to Hernandez's advice, AAA offers these Tips for Driving on Wet Roads:

-Check Tires: Make sure tires are properly inflated and have enough tread depth. This will allow the vehicle to have better traction and maneuverability on the road.

-Avoid Cruise Control: This feature works great in dry conditions, but when used in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle can increase. To prevent loss of traction, the driver may need to reduce the car’s speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is engaged.

-Slow Down and Leave Room: Drivers should slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you. Also, it’s important for motorists to allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance of the vehicle in front of them.

-Avoid Standing Water and Flooded Roads at all Times: There is no way to tell how deep standing water is on a flooded road and driving through it can cause a vehicle to stall and result in severe damage to the vehicle from:
Flooding the engine
Warping brake rotors
Loss of power steering
Short in electrical components

Experts say after driving through a puddle, tap your brake pedal. They say that helps to dry your brake rotors.

Area motorist William Holley says, "It does aggravate me to see people that are acting irresponsible in bad weather because you know that they are not in control. It really does bother me."

Another tip includes: Use your headlights, but not your high beams. Be sure to turn your headlights on, even in the lightest of rains. Headlights will help you be more visible to other drivers, as well as improve your own visibility. Do NOT, however, turn on your high beams. Doing so causes the light to bounce off of particles of water in the air, and will create a blinding effect to other drivers.

In many areas, it is the law to turn your headlights on while driving in the rain.

Officials say an easy way to remember to do so is to turn your headlights on whenever you turn your windshield wipers on.

For more information, see the press release below. You can also visit, http://www.cssfirm.com/2012/03/09/10-best-tips-for-driving-in-the-rain for more tips.

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PRESS RELEASE

AAA: CHANCES OF HYDROPLANING AND STALL OUTS INCREASE AS TROPICAL STORM DEBBY BRINGS MORE RAIN TO ROADS

Three in Five Florida Residents Say They’ve Experienced Skidding/Hydroplaning when Driving in Wet Weather Conditions

TAMPA, Fla. (June 25, 2012) – Florida’s hurricane season has already brought four named storms and in the past few days Tropical Storm Debby has dumped more than a foot of rain in some parts of the state. Already, AAA has received numerous calls from motorists who have hydroplaned and/or broken down as a result of wet and flooded roadways. AAA advises motorists to drive slower than usual, leave ample space between vehicles while driving, and not to drive through standing water.

One of the top concerns seven in 10 Florida drivers (70%) have when driving in wet weather is hydroplaning/skidding, according to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey. Of those who experienced hydroplaning/skidding (57%), 10 percent of them ended up in a car crash. Click here for full survey.

“Although Florida hasn’t experienced severe weather like this in a while, it’s important drivers heed official warnings and avoid driving on wet and flooded roads if able,” said Michele Harris, director, AAA Traffic Safety Culture, The Auto Club Group. “If motorists must drive, AAA recommends they drive slower then the allotted speed limit to decrease their chances of hydroplaning and avoid standing water at all costs.”

More than one in three Florida respondents (36%) said they think the proper way to handle a skid on wet roads with anti-lock or ABS brakes is to steer away from the skid or hold the wheel in place, according to the AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey. Motorists should read their vehicle manual to learn the type of brakes their vehicle has and review guidelines on how to properly maneuver the vehicle in a skid.

Nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes occur each year on wet pavement with more than a half million injuries and 5,700 deaths, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To help drivers brush up on their wet-weather driving, AAA Driver Training offers a free brochure Get A Grip: A Guide to Wet-Weather Driving Techniques.

Tips for Driving on Wet Roads

Check Tires: Make sure tires are properly inflated and have enough tread depth. This will allow the vehicle to have better traction and maneuverability on the road.
Avoid Cruise Control: This feature works great in dry conditions, but when used in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle can increase. To prevent loss of traction, the driver may need to reduce the car’s speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is engaged.
Slow Down and Leave Room: Drivers should slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you. Also, it’s important for motorists to allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance of the vehicle in front of them.
Avoid Standing Water and Flooded Roads at all Times: There is no way to tell how deep standing water is on a flooded road and driving through it can cause a vehicle to stall and result in severe damage to the vehicle from:
Flooding the engine
Warping brake rotors
Loss of power steering
Short in electrical components
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.8 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois, Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 53 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in the Southern Region of The Auto Club Group (Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee) from April 25 - 27, 2012. A total of 206 Florida residents completed the survey. The survey has a maximum margin of error of +/- 6.8 percentage points. Overall survey responses are weighted by gender and age to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Florida.


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