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Flooding is visible on the Lodge Freeway at I-94. Mandi Wright, DFP

  Torrential Rains Increase Flooding, Road Risks and Hazardous Driving Conditions

DEARBORN, MI - AAA is issuing a Statewide Flooded Roads Alert as the weekend’s torrential rain and forecasted morning rush hour rain pose an increased risk for flooding and hazardous driving conditions as Michiganders head into the start of the traditional work week. This is the second time this year that AAA has issued a statewide flood-related alert.

Wet roads increase the distance needed to stop safely, reduce the ability to steer a vehicle safely and increase the probability of a collision. Heavy rain can limit visibility and safe driving conditions. AAA Michigan supports local law enforcement recommendations cautioning drivers and advises motorist to follow these tips:

AAA Tips for Driving on Wet Roads

• 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

Slow Down and Leave Room: Slowing down during wet weather driving can be critical to reducing a car’s chance of hydroplaning, when the tires rise up on a film of water. With as little as ½ inch of water on the road, tires have to displace a gallon of water per second to keep the rubber meeting the road. Drivers should reduce their speed to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. At speeds as low as 35 mph, new tires can still lose some contact with the roadway. Also, it is important for motorists to allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance of the vehicle in front of them and beginning to slow down to stop for intersections, turns and other traffic early.

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.

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. Worn tires with little tread are much more likely to hydroplane on wet pavement, resulting in a loss of braking power and steering control. Check the tread depth of your car’s tires by inserting a quarter upside down into a tire groove. If you can see above Washington’s head at any point, it’s time for new tires.

“Motorists need to exercise extreme caution and slow down when driving on rain-soaked roads and highways,” said Susan Hiltz, Michigan public affairs director for AAA – The Auto Club. “There continues to be a high risk for flooding and hazardous driving conditions. If staying off the roads temporarily or minimizing drive time is viable for some drivers, AAA recommends that they exercise that safety option. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes occur each year on wet pavement with more than a half million injuries and 5,700 deaths.”

AAA also recommends that drivers:
• Keep windshields clean, inside and out.
• Keep wipers clean and in good condition.
• Keep headlights clean.
• Increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.


 

 

 

   
 
 

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