You’re commuting to work. Maybe you are running to the store. Perhaps you are out for a Sunday afternoon joy ride. No matter why you find yourself in the car, you are suddenly faced with inclement weather. The forecasters told you it may be coming, but you left with the sun hanging high in the sky.
If the recent hurricanes have taught us anything, it’s that we must be prepared for driving through adverse weather conditions. It doesn’t matter if the sun was shining when you left home or it was raining buckets, you need to be ready for the weather every time you get behind the wheel. After all, Florida weather is incredible fickle.
The best strategy, of course, is to avoid driving in the rain if you can. That said, it simply doesn’t make sense for most people. We all have places to go, and the only choice we have is to jump in the car and go. Before you do though, it might be a good idea to remind yourself of safe driving basics. Here’s how to handle yourself if you have to travel in the rain.
Even if it isn’t the law in your locality, a good rule of thumb is this: If your windshield wipers are on, so are your headlights. Most newer cars are equipped with technology that turns your headlights on when needed. If you car is a few years old or older, you’ll have to turn them on yourself. The moment you put your windshield wipers in action, turn your headlights on.
When the weather takes a turn for the worse, increase the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. If you’ve found that you’ve had to reduce your speed because of the inclement weather, it makes no sense to ride the bumper of the car in front of yours. In typical driving conditions, you should be able to see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of you touching the road. In bad weather, that distance should be increased. This will give you time needed to stop on slick roads should that leading car slam on its brakes.
Sure, you could drive the speed limit. You have new tires and good brakes. But is it a good practice? Of course not. When the roads are slick with rain, your speed should decrease accordingly. Remember that it will not only take you longer to stop on wet roads, but you run a greater risk of hydroplaning at high speeds. There is no magic number when it comes to your speed on wet roads; just slow it down.
No one wants to see a car darting in and out of traffic when the weather is good, let alone when the roads are hazardous. Stay in your lane as much as possible. The driver in front of you may be going slower than you like, but chances are they are driving safely. Gather your patience and maintain your lane.
We’ve all been there. We’re driving through a light sprinkle that turns into a storm that turns into a major downpour. If the rain is coming down in sheets and you can only see a few feet in front of your headlights, pull over to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights and wait it out.
Have you heard your local weatherperson say, “Turn around, don’t drown”? It’s a catchy saying and it’s true. It takes only inches of water to make a road dangerous. If you can’t see the pavement, stop, turn around and look for an alternate route. Too often, people risk driving through flooded roadways, especially those that are familiar, and find themselves in serious danger.
If you have driven through a puddle or standing water, tap the brakes a few times. This will create friction which creates heat. That heat will help to dry out your brakes quicker.
Driving through inclement weather can be hazardous and should be avoided if at all possible. That said, the tips above will help to ensure that you make it through the next storm without having caused or gotten into a car accident. Remember that making it to your destination safely is your priority.
If you are involved in a car accident in West Palm Beach, you have rights. Reach out to our team of experienced car accident attorneys to discover more about those rights and the compensation you may be entitled to. We will help you fight for the compensation you deserve. No family should suffer financially because of someone’s error or negligence. Call our office today or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.