Although Florida is known as the Sunshine State for good reason as most of it receives 3,000 or more hours of sunshine a year, it is also known for its severe weather. This includes not only hurricanes and tropical storms but its more common thunderstorms and strong wind.
Of course, the safest strategy during a storm is to not go out in it, but if you need to, follow these tips.
Use Your Wipers and Lights in Rainy Conditions
Make sure to not only turn on your wipers in rainy conditions, but also use your headlights at that time. In fact, this is not just safety advice as Florida law requires that drivers in rainy conditions use their headlights.
The worse the weather conditions are, the slower you should be driving. This is partially because wet pavement can cause hydroplaning and skidding while windy conditions are less dangerous when you drive slower. Doing this will also allow you a greater opportunity to see fallen debris, such as trees, in enough time to stop before you get to them. Also keep a greater distance between you and the car in front of you.
Give Large Vehicles More Room
You should give large vehicles more room during stormy conditions as they may need that additional space to maneuver safely and note that they are more likely to be toppled by strong wind due to their higher centers of gravity.
Avoid Flooded Areas Completely
Always avoid flooded areas. This is for a few primary reasons, including it being difficult to ascertain how deep the water goes and that there may be unseen hazardous debris under the water’s surface.
Know What to Do When Traffic Lights Are Out
If traffic lights are out, which sometimes happens during times of heavy rain and high wind, keep in mind that you should treat that intersection like it is a four-way stop with the exception of if a police officer is directing traffic. That person’s instructions take precedence over everything else.
Keep Up to Date on the Weather
Before you embark or while you are parked, keep up to date on the changing weather conditions. This will help you get an idea of how long the storm will last, when its most intense times will be and if there might be an alternate route to your destination that appears to miss the worst of it.
Drive During the Day When Possible
If you can avoid driving through a storm at night, do. Conditions are more challenging at night as compared to during the day.
Use Tires with Sufficient Tread
Using tires with sufficient tread is important regardless of the conditions, but it is essential when driving through rainy and windy weather. Before embarking, ensure that if you stick a penny, heads-up, into your tire that you cannot see Abraham Lincoln’s entire head. Do this not only with every tire but also in different areas of the same tire.
Carry Extra Supplies
If you are leaving the area as a result of a hurricane or tropical storm heading your way or are simply embarking on a long drive during stormy conditions, make sure that your car is well stocked. For example, keep inside it a first aid kit, food and water to prepare for any accidents or breakdowns that you may experience.If you have time to prepare, fill up your gas tank prior to a storm’s arrival. During hurricane season, it is a good idea to always keep your tank full and your car stocked and ready to go.
Keeping yourself informed and prepared can make it easier to navigate driving in any kind of weather. The state of Florida recorded 396,486 car accidents in 2022, the third highest number of accidents behind California and Texas. Car accidents are commonly caused by speeding, distracted driving, and inclement weather. Take precautions so you can arrive at your destination safely no matter what the forecast holds.