Most Central Floridians will give out-of-towners a stern warning before they venture off to our theme parks and shopping centers without an umbrella or rain poncho. What vacationers and visitors often do not realize is that sunny skies in the morning can quickly, often violently, turn into torrential afternoon downpours. Flooding, wind damage and even lightning damage can be real dangers on any given day once we get into the cycle of nearly daily thunderstorms.
Though annoying to many a waterlogged tourist, what makes matters worse for visitors and locals alike is the fact that getting from point A to B requires a car more often than not. Unlike cities more densely designed, Orlando and its suburbs are a wide sprawl of neighborhoods and attractions. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of safe driving tips to ensure that if you are caught in a bad storm, you can navigate through it without putting yourself, your passengers or others on the road at risk.
5 Safe Driving Tips to Weather Bad Weather
- Prepare: The best way to avoid dangers when driving in bad weather is to prepare before even getting on the road to begin with. Check the weather forecasts, see what times are looking most likely to have rough weather and plan your day accordingly. Also, do your due diligence to ensure that your car is ready for wet roads and heavy rain by replacing old windshield wiper blades, checking your tire pressure and tire wear, making sure all lights are in working order and that your brakes are in optimal shape. All of these features help prevent accidents in poor weather.
- Give More Room: Wet conditions mean slicker roads, which mean slower stops. Though you may ordinarily give a full car length or more in ordinary conditions, it’s advisable to give double that amount or more to account for wet roads and the potential for unexpected stops. Between the danger of skidding out of control and reduced visibility, the extra space is a must.
- Wipers, Lights and Turn Signals: When the rain starts, turn on your windshield wipers and lights as soon as possible. With lowered visibility, your headlights allow other motorists to see your vehicle even in the heaviest of downpours. The same can be said for turn signals, which should be used often and early to give other motorists early warning of your intended lane shifts. Note that you should not use your high beams/flashers, as they can actually further obscure your visibility and blind oncoming drivers.
- Slow and Steady: Though you may be in a hurry to get off the road and out of the poor weather, that is not an excuse to speed or drive recklessly. Always keep both hands on your steering wheel and slow your speed to avoid hydroplaning and counteract the effect of strong wind gusts. You also never know if another motorist will fail to turn on their headlights, signal or give proper time to come to a safe stop, so defensive, safe driving is a must.
- When in Doubt, Pull Over: If the weather gets too intense to handle, do not take an unnecessary risk. Simply pull into the nearest parking lot or, in an emergency, onto the side of the road with your hazard lights on to ride out the storm. There are times when, even with lights on and wipers at their fastest setting, visibility is nearly zero. Never put yourself or others in danger just because you would rather not wait for the storm to blow over.
By preparing before your trip, allowing more room between yourself and other vehicles, using wipers, lights and turn signals, driving slow and steady, and pulling over if conditions get too dangerous, you can stay safe when the weather takes a turn for the worse. The truth is, you cannot know with any certainty that everyone will be following these safe driving tips, but if you take it upon yourself to drive responsibly during storms, you can make the roadway a safer place. Oh, and do not forget that umbrella–we all know you never know when you may need it.
When an automobile accident happens to you, a loved one or a friend, you may have questions. Do not hesitate to contact us at 407-841-7699 for assistance. For additional resources, keep checking our blog, LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more helpful hints and to always be informed about best practices when it comes to personal injury.