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Answers to Common Questions About Fall Driving Safety

Below you will find the answers to some of the questions we hear the most about Fall Driving Safety in Central Florida

When is Central Florida’s rainy season?

Central Florida’s wet season lasts an average of five months. It generally begins in late May and runs through mid-October.

What is the most dangerous time to be on the road during a rainfall?

The first 10 minutes of rainfall is the most dangerous. This is the time when motor oil and grease accumulate on the road, creating a slick and treacherous driving surface. Drivers will need to adjust their driving habits for these conditions.

What are the top three causes of car accidents in America?

  1. Distracted driving continues to be the number one cause of car accidents in America. Texting, talking on the phone, eating and drinking, reading and personal grooming are some of the many ways drivers can get distracted while behind the wheel. FACT: Drivers who text and drive are 23 times more likely to get involved in an automobile accident.
  2. Speeding contributes to about a third of all car accidents in America.
  3. Drunk Driving is one of the most dangerous behaviors on the road today. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that 300,000 incidents of drunk driving occur daily.

What is the deadliest driving condition?

A recent analysis of federal data reveals that rain causes more driving fatalities than snow and ice in 39 of the 50 states.

Should you use your hazard lights in rainy or foggy weather conditions?

In the State of Florida, it is illegal to drive with your hazard lights on. Hazard lights are for stopped vehicles only. The one situation where Florida drivers are allowed to use their hazard lights is when their vehicle is being used in a funeral procession. Hazard lights can actually reduce visibility making other drivers think you are stopped or stalled. The best advice is if visibility is so bad that you cannot see; pull off to the side of the road, into a parking lot, plaza or somewhere safe until conditions improve.

How much room should I give the driver in front of me when driving in wet weather conditions?

In dry conditions it is a good idea to stay 3-4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. You should add more time if it is raining, staying about 5 seconds behind. 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.

What is hydroplaning and how can I avoid it?

Hydroplaning is caused when too much water builds up on the road, creating a sheet of water between the vehicle’s tires and the road. This causes the tires to essentially lose contact / traction with the road and the vehicle to spin out of control.

Below are some tips to help you avoid hydroplaning:

  • Reduce your speed, especially around curves;
  • Steer and brake lightly. Sudden corrections can cause you to lose traction and control of your vehicle;
  • Keep your tires properly inflated and make sure your tires have the appropriate amount of tread;
  • If you do start to hydroplane, stay calm. Ease off the gas and do not slam on the brake or jerk the steering wheel.

What are some safe driving tips to remember during the fall months?

  • Be prepared. Fall is a time when we get lots of rain in Central Florida. Wet roads can cause your vehicle to lose traction and control of your vehicle, resulting in a car accident.
  • Maintain your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in safe working order. For example, lights and brakes should be working properly. Have your tires inspected and make sure you windshield wipers are in good condition.
  • 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 you think of the autumn months, you think of falling leaves. Foliage can make driving conditions hazardous, as it can make roadways slick and cover 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, bicycles and use extra caution in school zones and crosswalks- especially in the early morning hours and afternoon.

What are some ways to effectively use your car’s safety features when driving in wet weather conditions?

  • Headlights. Turn your headlights ON while driving in the rain, whether in the day or night. It is the law in the Florida. This will help with visibility and decrease the chances of you being involved in a head-on collision.
  • Defroster. Use this feature to defog your windows. Make sure your air conditioning is turned on, along with the front and rear defrosters.
  • Tire tread. Examine the tread on your tires. Worn tread decreases the traction and increases the likelihood of losing control of your vehicle, particularly in wet weather conditions.
  • Cruise control. You should never use cruise control on wet pavement. This feature may interpret loss of traction as reducing speed and increase acceleration to compensate.
  • Windshield wipers and water repellent products. Make sure your windshield wipers are working properly. It is also a good idea to use rain repellent products on windows, which can help clear water from your vehicle’s windows.

How often should I check my car’s tire pressure?

You should check your vehicle’s tire pressure once a month, using a tire gauge. NHTSA offers additional tire safety tips.

Related Resources

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident while driving in rainy weather conditions, it is important to contact an experienced Orlando Auto Accident Lawyer to help you file a lawsuit. The law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A. is dedicated to protecting the rights of those involved in automobile accidents. We can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail.

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