A headline from the past weekend in the News Herald said it all "Déjà vu: Flooding returns to Bay County." Our wet weather has had wide-ranging impacts, hindering many businesses (though helping others), dampening moods, and changing the summer plans of both residents and visitors. As your Panama City car accident injury law firm, we also know that the wet weather poses driving dangers. Today's post focuses on avoiding weather-related car accidents.
In the article published just after 6 P.M. on Saturday, the Herald reported on the heavy rainfall that soaked the Panhandle when a moist tropical air mass combined with a stalled storm front. Roads that had already been drenched in earlier storms became flooded again, with Callaway seeing 5.57 inches and Panama City clocking in at 4.5 inches.
The latter led to a full foot of flooding in some places, with Cincinnati Avenue and 19th Street among the hardest hit areas. One new resident of Panama City, Charles Peterson, moved to town just a week before the historic rains that hit on July 4 and was warily watching to see if August brought a repeat of the flooding that damaged his carpet and destroyed some home appliances. Another community member reported spending $20,000 on repairs from the July floods, and along with many others, is asking why flooding has returned and the city has not yet remedied certain issues.
Once again, the rains kept road crews busy. Flooded thoroughfares included Alf Coleman Road, Front Beach Road, and Treasure Circle. In the Derby Woods neighborhood of Lynn Haven, roads seemed to transform into canals with water measuring six inches deep. Bridge closures and at least one flight diversion also resulted from the wet weather.
A key message contained in the Wet Weather Driving Tips authored by the AAA Exchange, an AAA project that addresses safety, automotive, consumer, and travel issues, is that preparation is key. Drivers should always makes sure that all of their automobile's lights are working, including head & taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Of course, lights only work when they are turned on, and drivers should always check that their lights are on during wet weather, even if lights are supposed to be automatic.
Windshield wiper maintenance is also important, and blades should be replaced if they are leaving behind streaks. Tire maintenance is crucial for save travel in any weather. Drivers should regularly check tire pressure (consult your manual for optimal pressure readings) and tread depth (put an upside-down quarter into the tire groove, if you can see the area above Washington's head then you need a new tire – check each tire separately).
Preparation is key, but knowing what to do in the moment is also important. Overall, the main message for driving in wet or otherwise inclement weather is to slow down and leave extra room between vehicles. Slower speeds help diminish the risk of hydroplaning, and leaving extra room accounts for longer stopping distances while also giving drivers extra time to respond to unexpected problems. Drivers should also avoid sudden, severe movements, such as hard braking or sharp turns. Maintaining control is important. Use of cruise control is not recommended because it is important to be able to slow the vehicle by slowly lifting off the accelerator. Specific advice on responding to skids and hydroplaning can be found in a prior blog post, cited below.
Preparation and proper response can help prevent accidents, during rain and when the sun is shining bright (remember those days?). If another driver failed to take reasonable safety measures and this negligence led to an accident that left you or a loved one injured, call us. Our Panama City accident lawyer can help you get compensation for your injuries. Remember: the law does not require perfection, and you may be able to recover damages, even if your own actions played a role in the accident.