UAB TRIP Lab offers tips to keep you safe while driving in wet weather
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Parts of Birmingham experienced significant flooding Wednesday afternoon, and some drivers got stuck in their cars and needed to be rescued.
That’s why a local UAB expert is offering advice to keep you safe.
Dr. Benjamin McManus with UAB’s TRIP Lab said having a plan in place before you get behind the wheel is always important, but even more so when the roads are wet.
He said hydroplaning is a big concern when there’s even a little bit of water on the roads and recommends decreasing your speed.
He said hydroplaning can start as speeds as low at 35 miles per hour, and the faster you’re driving, the less water it takes to cause an accident.
Flash flooding is also a major concern.
Water rose very quickly in parts of Birmingham Wednesday, and it doesn’t take much to sweep a vehicle off the road.
Dr. McManus said it only takes about a foot of water to begin floating most cars, and with two feet of water, that’s enough to carry an SUV away.
He said if you’re ever questioning how deep the water in front of you might be, turn around, don’t drown.
“Perspective from your driver’s seat is often also going to skew how much water you’re able to estimate is sitting there on the road. So, it’s hard to tell that that’s 12 inches of water. If it looks deep, you certainly want to avoid it. When we drive, we should always be undistracted, but it’s especially, critically important to be undistracted while you’re driving in such conditions. Your reaction time will be slower when the roads are wet and when visibility is lowered,” Dr. McManus explained.
Dr. McManus said it’s best to avoid driving altogether during rainy weather, but if you must be on the roads, he recommends planning ahead by watching the news to see what roads might be closed, or where flooding might be happening, and also driving slowly.
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