If you live in Florida, water is just a way of life. We are nearly surrounded by the ocean, and many of us have hobbies that include being in the water. But, another major part of our lives is rainfall. Whether it is hurricane season or just an afternoon shower, driving on wet roadways is a regular occurrence for Floridians. As you find yourself driving in these conditions, remember there are several choices you can make ahead of time to keep yourself from being at-fault in an accident.
WET ROADWAY SAFETY REMINDERS
- Plan for a longer drive. If it usually takes you 20 minutes to drive to work, just go ahead and anticipate that you will need 30 minutes to get to work in the rain. Not only are you accounting for your own cautious driving, but you are considering the fact that others may drive slower in the rain, too. This simple change will help you remain calm by lowering your expectations.
- Keep a safe following distance between you and the car in front of you. In good weather, you should keep about a three-second stopping distance between you and the other vehicle. In bad weather, you should increase the time it takes to come to a complete stop to four or more seconds. By giving yourself more distance, you naturally give yourself more time to stop. The goal here is to avoid slamming on your brakes during the rain because that will almost inevitably cause an accident.
- Slow down. This seems like common sense, but some drivers forget that rainfall worsens already dangerous spots on the road. For example, if there is a pothole on your commute, that pothole can pose even more danger if you hit it while it is full of water. You also increase your chances of hydroplaning when you speed.
- Visibility is key. It can be difficult to see other drivers around you when you are in the middle of a downpour on a major road or highway. It can also be hard to see areas of the road that have gathered water. Limit your distractions and be on the lookout for anything that could initially be masked by the weather.
TOP 3 THINGS TO CHECK BEFORE DRIVING IN THE RAIN
- Tire Tread: The tread on your tires is what you are counting on to help you come to a complete stop. The balder your tires are, the harder it will be for them to stop in a timely manner. Keep an eye on your tire tread and replace the tires as needed. Also, be sure to have your tires rotated regularly so that they are being used evenly by the weight of your car. You can easily have this done during a routine oil change.
- Tire Pressure: Check your tire pressure at least once a month. If you do not know the correct amount of air pressure your tires need, you can find this information on the inside of your driver’s side door or inside your vehicle’s manual.
- Windshield Wipers: Replace your windshield wipers at least twice a year. Wipers tend to wear down just like the tread on your tires. Once they wear down, they fail to serve their purpose and you then put your visibility at risk.
WHAT DOES FLORIDA LAW SAY ABOUT DRIVING IN THE RAIN?
Florida does require its drivers to abide by certain rules while driving in the rain. For example, if there is weather that includes rain or fog, you have to have your headlights and taillights on while driving. If not, you can expect to be pulled over for a ticket. For some people, this is an honest mistake because they have automatic lights and are not used to having to manually turn on their headlights at night. If this is you, try to get in the habit of always turning on your lights when it is raining during the day to avoid a ticket. Another Florida law to keep in mind is that it is illegal to use your flashing lights, or hazard lights, unless you are lawfully stopped on the side of the road. Using them when you are stopped is helpful so that drivers passing you can see where you are. However, using them while you are still driving is confusing to other drivers and can cause an accident.
HOW DO I ESTABLISH FAULT FOR AN ACCIDENT IN THE RAIN?
Avoiding fault in a car accident during bad weather can be easy if you take the information listed above to heart. If you or a loved one were in a car accident while it was raining, you should contact a trusted lawyer today. A professional can help you gather the information and evidence you need to prove who was at fault for the accident. Give us a call today at Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh to discuss your specific needs and individualized case.