June 1st officially kicks off the start of hurricane season here in Florida. On top of that, Florida’s summer season brings a lot of afternoon storms and showers. Florida drivers need to take extra precautions to prepare for any severe driving conditions they may encounter.
Car Accidents During Hurricane Season
It’s no surprise that poor driving conditions from inclement weather can cause an increased risk of car accidents. If you live in Florida, I’m sure you’ve experienced the phenomenon of having sunshine one minute and then a powerful thunderstorm the next. These powerful storms can cause flash floods, crosswinds to blow debris across the road, and rain so heavy that it can make it hard to see when driving. Getting caught up in these conditions can easily cause even the best drivers to lose control of their vehicle.
According to the Florida Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report for 2020, there were over 70,000 car accidents that occurred while it was raining outside and over 118,000 that occurred when the roadways were wet. Taking extra precautionary measures when driving in poor conditions could help keep you and other drivers safe this hurricane season.
It can be very difficult to avoid rainy conditions in Florida. If you’re able to plan ahead, it’s always best to stay off the road when you know it’s going to storm. However, if you end up driving in poor weather conditions, make sure to follow these safety tips to reduce your chances of getting in a car accident.
Check your car regularly
It is important to regularly check the function of your brakes, headlights, tail lights, windshield wipers and tire pressure. Hydroplaning occurs when a car begins to slide uncontrollably due to water on the road. Checking that the tread on your tires is in good shape and that your brakes are working properly can help you avoid losing control of your vehicle on the slippery roads. It is also important to make sure headlights and tail lights are functioning properly so other drivers can easily spot your vehicle and know when you are braking.
Don’t let hazard lights be a hazard
Even if driving becomes difficult in rainy weather, do not put on your hazard lights while you are driving. You may see other drivers with their hazards on to alert traffic that they are driving slower through the storm, however, it is illegal to have your hazard lights on for that purpose in the state of Florida. Your hazards should only be on if you are pulled over on the side of the road and indicating that your vehicle may be a hazard to other drivers. Driving with your hazards on can be confusing to other drivers and can make it difficult to tell when you are braking. If you are uncomfortable driving in poor weather conditions, it is always best to pull off to the side of the road and wait for it to clear up before driving again.
Turn around don’t drown
This saying has been around to warn drivers of flooded streets. Even driving through water that is 2 feet deep can cause damage to your vehicle. Additionally, flooded streets may contain debris that could damage the tires on your car. Even if water doesn’t appear to be deep, it is always best to avoid driving through. Flooded roads can be deceiving, making it very difficult to tell how deep the water really is.
Be careful at intersections
Take your time at intersections and be aware of the cars around you. Powerful storms can cause outages and malfunctions in traffic lights, which can create confusion on the roads. If lights are out or flashing red, treat the intersection as a four-way stop. If the lights are flashing yellow, proceed with caution and yield to any oncoming vehicles. Always check for other cars that are crossing the intersection and wait until it is your turn to safely cross over.
Always stay prepared
There can be many unexpected occurrences during a storm, so it’s important to be prepared for anything.Stay aware of your surroundings and watch for any tree branches or other debris that may block the roads. Keep an eye out for stopped vehicles, reduce your speed and give yourself enough time to brake behind cars. Make sure to follow all traffic rules and use caution when driving through heavy rain and strong winds.
Were You in an Auto Accident?
The best way to protect yourself and other drivers in inclement weather is to adjust how you drive in those conditions. If you’ve been in an auto accident, contact Dr. Huffman today for a FREE telemedicine consultation. From the comfort of your own home, he’ll document your injuries, prescribe medication, and refer you out to a specialist, if needed. We’ll help you find the rainbow after the storm and get you feeling better in no time.