Tropical Storm Alberto gave us a recent reminder here in South Florida that storm systems can form off of either coast of our state and cause heavy rainfall over not just many hours, but many days. And whether a sprinkle or a deluge, the fact is that rain on any roadway completely changes driving conditions and can create danger for those on those roads.
One need look no further to believe this than the deaths of Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer. McCormick was a television anchor and Smeltzer was a photojournalist for WYFF News 4 in Greenville, SC, and their SUV was crushed by a falling tree during their coverage of the storm.
One surprising fact: driving in the rain is more dangerous than driving during snow. According to 10 years of analyzed statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), determined that the likelihood of a crash after rainfall on wet pavement is higher than during conditions of snow, sleet, or even ice. The NHTSA found 46 percent of weather-related crashes were rain-based, and only 17 percent for snow, sleet, and ice.
Of course, part of those statistics are no doubt affected by the fact that many drivers simply stay home during a bad snowstorm, according to the President and CEO of the National Safety Council, Debbie Hersman. Drivers don’t respect the rain, and don’t adjust their driving habits to meet road conditions during rain. And in Florida—where snow, sleet and ice are seldom a factor—that can be deadly.
Here are some ways to stay safe in the rain:
Bill Van Tassell, Ph.D., and manager of the driving training programs for Florida’s AAA , advises drivers to take a quarter (not a penny, as some recommend), insert it upside down into your tire tread. “If part of Washington’s head is always covered by the tread, your tires have more than 4/32 of an inch of tread remaining. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed at any point, you should replace the tires.”
Check your pressure at least monthly, using a good tire gauge. The NHTSA offers many other tire safety facts as well.
Worn-out wipers are simply not up to the task of providing a clean field of vision through the windshield. There’s a handy online guide to help you know how and when to change them.
Headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals—ensure all are working. While driving in the rain, keep your headlights on to increase visibility—Florida law requires it.
Slow down. Speed on wet pavement is dangerous because your tires have less traction. So reduce your speed by 1/3 when driving in the rain—40 instead of 55, 30 instead of 45, etc.
Florida law prohibits using hazard light usage while driving, even during rain. Hazard lights are to be used in Florida only while stopped.
Avoid skids by braking gently in the rain.
There’s no reason to stay on the road during dangerous conditions and endanger your life as well as those traveling with you in the vehicle.
Have you or a loved one been injured in an automobile accident?
As safe as you may be while operating your vehicle, others may not be. If you or a loved one has been a driver or passenger and been injured in an auto accident, you can receive compensation not only for your vehicle, but for your pain, suffering, and medical expenses as well.
Before you speak with an insurance company, the attorneys at Thomas and Pearl want to speak to you.
$150 MILLION in verdicts and settlements
Injuries from automobile accidents on wet Florida roads can be extremely serious—even leading to death. Thomas & Pearl attorneys have the skills and training, plus the financial resources necessary to take on the big insurance companies, and to negotiate settlements favorable for our clients. And Thomas & Pearl Attorneys will absolutely litigate to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
Ask about our experience as attorneys helping victims of vehicular accidents.
Ask about the more than $150M (MILLION) dollars in recent and past jury verdicts and settlements we have gained for our clients.
We’ll evaluate your case situation with you, develop a strategy to win or successfully negotiate the highest amount of compensation for you.
Experienced legal help can make the difference between a successful resolution and losing in court. And you pay nothing unless we get that successful resolution for you.
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