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How to Avoid Accidents in Stormy Weather

Here in Florida, we are all too familiar with the dangers of severe weather. Like most, you’ve probably had to drive through some tough rain before, and it can be stressful. From flash flooding and hydroplaning to torrential downpours that reduce visibility, the dangers of driving in stormy weather are numerous.

While rainy-day accidents are not 100% preventable, there are many ways you can reduce your chances of being involved in one. Below we share some best-practice tips and expert advice on avoiding accidents during stormy weather in Tampa Bay.

driver gripping steering wheel

You can take six proven approaches to avoid an accident while driving in a storm. Being prepared, allowing extra time, defensive driving, and maintaining your vehicle are the best ways to prevent an accident.

1. Distance

With standing water on the road, it’s easy to lose control of your vehicle due to hydroplaning. First, allow extra distance for stopping at stop signs and traffic signals as well as between you and other traffic.

If you do hydroplane, remain calm. Don’t slam on your brakes – this will cause your vehicle to further spin out of control. Gently remove your foot from the gas and carefully steer out of traffic or away from hazards.

2. Tires

It can’t be said enough: maintain your vehicle regularly and ensure your tires are in good shape. Proper tread depth and tire inflation will help prevent hydroplaning. In wet conditions, a tread depth of 2/32” can result in a stopping distance of 250 feet.

You can check your tire tread depth at home with a gauge or by measuring it with a penny. Insert a penny with Lincoln’s head down into a tire groove. If the head is not visible, you’re good to go. If you can see all of his face, it’s time to replace the tires.

3. Speed

During stormy weather conditions, a good rule of thumb is to reduce your speed by a third. Even at a velocity as low as 35 mph, new tires can lose contact with a wet roadway. Avoid using cruise control, as this prevents a driver from reducing speed by slowly lifting off the accelerator.

4. Windshield Wipers

It goes without saying that you’ll need good windshield wipers to safely drive in the rain. Worn down, less effective wipers are often neglected, leaving drivers with an obstructed or blurry view. Windshield wipers are not expensive and are easy to replace, make sure you pick up a new pair as soon as you see signs of wear.

If you have severely reduced visibility even with your wipers at full speed, pull over where it’s safe to stop. Don’t risk getting into an accident by trying to power through torrential rain.

5. Headlights

Having properly working headlights are a must for peak visibility during stormy conditions. They help you see in lower visibility situations and allow other drivers to see you better, lessening the risk of another driver hitting your vehicle.

6. Timing

While it’s not always possible to avoid driving in severe weather conditions, waiting for the storm to pass is best before attempting to drive.

However, if your area has flash flooding, it’s best to avoid driving even after the rain has stopped. Just six inches of rain will cause a loss of control, and a foot of water can cause many vehicles to float away. Don’t risk it. Always seek shelter or higher ground in these situations.

car driving through the countryside

What if I Were in an Accident?

Even if you’ve followed all of these safety measures, accidents in severe weather can still happen. In particular, you can’t control the negligent and careless actions of other drivers on the road.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, contact Mickey Keenan, P.A., right away. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through the complex process to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Call us today at (813) 871-1300 for a free consultation. We’re here 24/7 to help make you whole again. After all, your family is our family.