Life in Florida means life with rain. Florida is fifth on the list of wettest states with an average rainfall of 54.5 inches per year compared to an average of 30.21 inches of rain and snow in the continental United States (via statistics site currentresults.com. This makes it important for Floridians to be prepared for wet weather driving. While wet weather can make driving extra treacherous, ultimately it is still the driver's responsibility to be prepared and to drive responsibly. Our Panama City rainy day car crash lawyer works for the injured and/or grieving to ensure justice is carried out regardless of the weather.
A frightening rollover accident in Okaloosa County on Sunday night left two eighteen year-olds injured, according to a report by WJHG. The single-vehicle accident occurred when the teens were travelling west on Interstate 10 near Mile Marker 48. It was raining heavily when the driver lost control causing the vehicle to leave the road, continue moving along the median for almost 200 feet, and then flip over. According to Florida Highway Patrol ("FHP") officials, travelling too fast for the weather conditions was a factor into the incident.
Emergency personnel took the driver and passenger to North Okaloosa Medical Center. Both had been wearing seat belts. FHP officials stated that both teens suffered serious injuries with the driver in critical condition at the time of the report. A relative of one teen, however, suggested both were in stable condition.
According to AAA, wet roadways contribute to nearly 1.2 million car accidents every year. Safe rainy day driving begins before the storm starts with making sure your vehicle is weather-ready. Windshield wipers should leave the windshield clear, not wetroad.jpgcovered in streaks that can contribute to diminished visibility. All of your vehicle's lights should be in working order, including headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights.
Your tires connect your vehicle to the road and both proper inflation and tread depth are crucial to good traction in wet weather. Tire pressure should be checked when the vehicle is "cold," meaning prior to driving or three hours after a trip, and compared to the recommendation in your owner's manual. You can check tread depth by placing an upside-down quarter in the groove. If you can see the top of Washington's head, the tire needs to be replaced (note: see Car and Driver for a discussion of the switch to a "quarter test" instead of the "penny test").
A well-maintained vehicle is important, but drivers must also be prepared to adapt their driving behaviors to changing conditions, including rainy weather. You can find lists of wet weather driving tips on countless websites, but AAA summarizes many of these lists with a basic rule: "Slow down and leave room." These tips should help prevent hydroplaning and skidding, both of which are discussed in more detail in a prior post that we've linked below. For those who like visual cues, Wikihow has an animated series of tips on a page titled How to Drive Safely in the Rain.
No matter how prepared you and your vehicle are, sometimes the best decision is simply to avoid driving in heavy rainfall. Likewise, if you are out when the storm hits and rainfall becomes so heavy enough to compromise visibility, the best choice is often to pull over someplace safe and wait for the squall to pass. No trip is worth your life.
Remember - You may be prepared for the rain, but others may not. Rain may be a factor in many accidents, but it is not an excuse for negligence. If an unprepared or negligent driver causes a wet weather crash that leaves you injured, you may be entitled to money damages.
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