Any experienced Floridian can tell you that the summer months are some of the rainiest. This rainy season usually lasts from late May until well into October—right in the middle of hurricane season. These months are responsible for over 60% of the annual rainfall in the state. You can count on them to be more wet, humid, and foggy than the rest of the year. This combination can make quite a difference in road safety for Florida drivers. With May 9-15 being named Hurricane Preparedness Week, it’s important to prepare for the elements we’ll see very soon.
The Effects of Rainy Weather on Driving
It should go without saying that inclement weather conditions have an adverse impact on driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 21% of the average 5,891,000 yearly crashes are caused by weather conditions. Here are some examples of inclement weather conditions that impact road drivability:
- Wind Speed – Swift winds can blow debris, obstructing roadways or reducing visibility. At extremes, wind can cause a change in vehicle performance.
- Precipitation – All levels of rain can cause serious loss of traction and reduce visibility.
- Fog – Dense fog can greatly reduce visibility and driving clarity.
Every state has its own weather concerns for driving. In northern states, due to snow, sleet, and ice, winter is the season that poses the greatest threat to drivers. In southern states like Florida, however, the summertime months are more concerning. These months have a serious impact on Florida roadways due to the large increase in rainfall. This change in the weather pattern creates a predictable increase in rain, wind, and fog. As we see above, all of these can have an impact on the safeness of Florida roads.
Other weather elements, such as air and pavement temperature, humidity, and water levels, can lead to potholes and uneven pavement. These are also a hazard to motorists. Additionally, wet pavement—the most prominent weather hazard on Florida roadways—causes over 70% of all vehicle accidents annually nationwide.
How to Be a Responsible Florida Driver
The words “responsible Florida driver” may sound oxymoronic, but the truth is that everyone can and should drive responsibly. Most safe driving habits are practical, simple, and effective, and any motorist can implement them. Here are 5 ways that you can drive responsibly in Florida’s hurricane season!
- Reduce driving speed – No matter what the weather conditions, reducing speed is a surefire way to keep yourself safe. Obey posted speed signage and be willing to reduce speeds whenever inclement weather poses a threat to roadway safety.
- Maintain a safe following distance – Keep a safe following distance behind the vehicles in front of you to allow for more reaction time when stopping. This is particularly important when visibility is impaired due to fog or rain, or when roads are wet and slippery.
- Ensure your vehicle is fully-functional – From new tires to effective brakes, a sound vehicle will always be safer in inclement weather than a broken one. There are a few steps you can take to go the extra mile, too. For example, tires made specifically for driving on wet pavement can be life-saving.
- Drive with the right lights on – When it’s hard to see, keeping your car’s lights on is critical. Driving with the right lights on helps you see obstacles and lets others see you. Turn on your low-beam headlights, but keep the high-beam lights off. They can actually cause more of a glare when it’s foggy out, which makes it harder to see. Be sure not to drive around with your hazard lights on either, as this just creates confusion.
- Put others first – Inclement weather conditions are no time to be aggressive, unpredictable motorists. Use turn signals well ahead of time, break evenly, and allow others to maneuver their vehicles effectively. Remember to do what it takes to ensure the safety of all. Keeping others safe, in turn, keeps you safe!
In an Accident? Contact Brooks Law Group.
No matter how important your destination is, it will never be worth risking your life or someone else’s. When driving during this year’s hurricane season, practice habits that promote the safety of yourself and motorists around you. By doing this, we can all be effective in reducing the statistics of roadway accidents due to the weather.
If you’ve been in an accident due to rainy weather, or any other cause, call Brooks Law Group today. Our attorneys can take a look at your case to let you know what your options are. Call us at 1-800-LAW-3030 or fill out a form online. We strive to respond within the hour to set up an initial consultation, free of charge. Contact us today!