Heavy rains can occur at any time of the day in Central Florida, particularly during the late summer and fall months. It is important that drivers remember that the first 10 minutes of rainfall is the most dangerous. This is the time when motor oil and grease accumulates on the road, creating a slick and treacherous driving surface. Higher speeds make driving in the rain even more dangerous. There are certain driving hazards to be aware of as we head into the fall months.

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Below are some safe driving tips from the Law Firm of Michael T. Gibson:

  • Be prepared for wet roads. Fall is a time when we get plenty of rain in Central Florida. Wet roads can cause your vehicle to lose traction and control of your vehicle, resulting in a car crash.
  • Do not brake on leaves. Wet leaves can be as slick as ice. Drive slowly and avoid hard braking. Make sure and stay in your lane, as leaves can obscure pot holes, lane lines and other important markers on the road.
  • Avoid the glare. On and near the autumnal equinox (which fell on September 23 last year), the first 15 to 45 minutes after sunrise and before sunset can make for more difficult driving due to the glare of the sun. During this time, the sun perfectly aligns with east/west roadways. Make sure and keep your windshield clean and have a good pair of sunglasses.
  • Drive for the conditions. When you encounter rain, be sure to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, as wet roads can be slick, causing you to hydroplane. Stay about 5 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. For each additional driving challenge, add another second. For example, if it is raining and you are driving at night, you should aim to be 6 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. Use your low beams or fog lights in foggy conditions and never your high beams.
  • Maintain your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in safe working order. Check headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals to be sure everything is working properly. Have your tires inspected and make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tires with 2/32 of an inch of tread are unsafe. However, you may want to replace tires before they get this worn, depending on the driving conditions. Tire pressure is also important. You should check the pressure once a month, using a tire gauge.
  • Drive at a reasonable speed. Drivers have a duty to drive at a reasonable speed. A driver who does not adjust their speed in light of the existing traffic, visibility or weather conditions can be held liable for negligent driving. Even driving at the set speed limit can be considered negligent if, for example, visibility is low, the weather is bad, or if you are in a school zone.
  • Use low beams.Fall can bring with it a lot of fog, which can limit visibility. One common mistake drivers make is turning on their high beams. This actually makes visibility worse.
  • Falling leaves.When many of us think of the autumn months, we envision falling leaves. Foliage can make driving conditions hazardous, by making roadways slick and covering up pot holes.
  • Beware of children. The arrival of fall means kids are heading back-to-school. It is important to watch out for children on foot and riding their bicycles to school. Use extra caution in school zones and crosswalks, especially in the early morning hours and afternoon.

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Use Extra Caution When Driving In Hazardous Conditions This Fall

At the law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A., we are dedicated to protecting the rights of those involved in automobile accidents. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, it is important that you contact an experienced Orlando Auto Accident Lawyer immediately. Our experienced team of accident attorneys can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Call 407-490-1271 or use the contact form on this page to discuss your legal options in greater detail.