There’s an old South Georgia saying: If you don’t like the weather, just wait a half hour.
It’s the time of year when rain showers and thunderstorms can spring up at the drop of a hat and leave just a quickly.
Heavier rains, flooding and even falling trees are not uncommon this time of year.
While we often urge readers to put together an emergency kit and make sure you have a family plan in place, one of the things we often forget is how dangerous the roadways can be during inclement weather.
Our weather can change in an instant, and many times that change can bring sudden severe weather conditions. All too many times motorists get caught on the roadways during torrential rains, high winds, hail, rising waters, lightning or a combination of conditions.
Seventy-five percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on wet pavement and 47 percent happen during rainfall each year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration.
Use extra caution when driving on wet roads and turn on headlights when visibility is low.
Here are some other safety tips:
— Make sure windshield wiper blades and headlights are working well. Replace blades at least once a year for best results. It’s the law in all states to turn headlights on when visibility is low, and many states also require having the headlights on when the windshield wipers are in use.
— Check that rear and brake lights are functioning properly. They help your vehicle be seen in rainy weather.
— Switch from winter to summer tires, if needed. Don’t forget to check tread wear and tire inflation. Both can help with traction.
— Reduce your speed on wet surfaces and allow a safe following distance. Rain, oil and dust equal slippery conditions and traction problems on roads.
— Turn off cruise control. When roads are wet, it is best to allow the driver to control speed and react to conditions.
— Pay attention to flood warnings and barricades. They’re typically placed in areas where flooding occurs often and can be potentially dangerous.
— Avoid driving through standing water, putting yourself, passengers and your vehicle at risk. You can lose control in as little as six inches of water; deeper, moving water can cause stalling or carry vehicles away.
— The Center for Disease Control reports that more than half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. Hydroplaning, the skidding or sliding of tires on wet surfaces, can happen anytime roads are wet.