Florida, the “Sunshine State,” has also been infamous for having a hurricane-prone climate. Florida residents and visitors should be prepared every year for possible hurricanes or tropical storms. Everyone must stay safe during the hurricane season. However, drivers are especially at risk as they must navigate in adverse weather conditions. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss the essential safety guidelines to help Florida motorists prepare for the hurricane season and reduce the risks of accidents.
You can protect yourself from hurricanes by having accurate information. Be sure to watch weather forecasts, particularly during hurricane season. Your best source for storm tracking and updates is the National Hurricane Center. You can also keep informed via local news channels, weather apps, and emergency alerts.
If you know the path of a hurricane and its intensity, it will help you to plan your journeys. If you are unsure whether a storm is coming, it’s best to postpone your travel or evacuate if the authorities suggest you do so. Being informed is key to preventing car accidents.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Regular vehicle maintenance is essential, but even more so during hurricane season. Make sure your car is in perfect condition before the season begins. Consider the following essential maintenance tasks.
- Check to See: If your tires have adequate tread and are correctly inflated. Bald tires will easily lose traction when driving on wet surfaces.
- Brake Inspection: Make sure the brakes are in excellent condition. This will allow you to stop safely when driving on wet surfaces.
- Test All Your Lights: Check that the headlights are working, as well as the taillights and brake lights. When the weather is bad, it’s important to have good visibility.
- Check Your Wipers And Replace Them If Needed: A worn-out wiper can make it difficult to see in heavy rain. Replace them to keep your visibility clear.
Create an Emergency Kit
During hurricane season, having an emergency kit inside your car is a good idea. This kit will include such essentials as:
- Food and water in the bottled form: Ensure you have enough to feed yourself and passengers for several days.
- Warm Blankets and Clothing: These are essential if you become stuck in your car or have to spend a night there.
- Flashlight with Extra Batteries: Visibility is often severely affected by storms. A flashlight will be essential.
- First Aid Kits: Be ready for minor injuries or medical emergencies.
- Basic Tool: A multipurpose wrench, pliers, or duct tape can greatly help with minor vehicle repairs.
Protect Your Home and Belongings
- Reinforce windows and doors: Prepare your house and belongings for hurricane season before heading out. This protects your property and gives you peace of mind while away from your home.
- Secure outdoor items: Use plywood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from flying debris.
- Protect outdoor items: Items like lawn furniture, potted planters, and other items outside can become projectiles that can be dangerous in high winds. Store or secure them indoors.
- Turning off utilities in evacuation: To prevent accidents or damage, turn gas, electricity, or water off while you’re gone.
Plan Your Route
If you are planning a trip for hurricane season, it is advisable to consider alternative routes. In an evacuation or accident, highways and roads can be congested. Avoiding unnecessary delays and hazards is possible with a carefully planned route.
Maintaining Safe Following Distance
You should maintain a safe driving distance from the vehicle in front of you during heavy rain and strong winds. Wet road conditions reduce traction and make it more difficult to stop quickly. Generally, the rule is to stay three seconds behind any vehicle in front, but it’s better to stay longer during bad weather.
When driving in hurricane-like conditions, slowing down is vital. If the roads are slick, reducing speed is an effective way to reduce hydroplaning. Driving at a safe speed will help you keep control of your car.
Use Headlights and Signals
Visibility may rapidly decrease during a hurricane. Always use your car’s headlights when driving in the rain or at night. Use brake and turn lights consistently and early to alert other motorists of your intentions.
Avoid Flooded Roads
Flooding can be one of the more dangerous situations for drivers during a hurricane. The water level can rise rapidly and wash away vehicles if you try to drive along flooded roads. Try to find an alternate road if you come across a flooded street.
Be Cautious When Wind Gusts Are Present
Hurricanes are marked by strong winds that can make driving difficult. Be prepared to deal with sudden gusts, which may cause your car to drift off course. Hold the steering wheel firmly and be prepared to make small adjustments to remain in your lane. Be extra careful if you are driving a larger vehicle, like a truck or RV.
Keep Calm and Avoid Sudden Moves
When driving in difficult weather conditions, staying calm and composed is essential. Avoid sudden maneuvers that can result in loss of control, such as abrupt braking or sharp turning. If you have to make a lane change or turn, proceed slowly and give yourself plenty of time.
Watch Out for Fallen Debris
High winds can blow trees, branches, and debris onto the road. Keep an eye out for roadblocks. If you find fallen debris on the road, it is best to slow down and navigate around safely.
Be Mindful of Standing Water
The road surface can deceive you with puddles or standing water. You might be unable to tell how deep it is, and driving in deep water may cause your vehicle to stall or get damaged. Standing water should be treated with extreme caution. Turn around if it’s too deep.
Communicate your Plans
Before leaving on a hurricane season trip, let someone else know about your plans. Share your itinerary with friends or family and tell them how you are doing. Knowing where you are can be useful in an emergency.
Stay Updated On Road Closures
In a hurricane, the road conditions may change quickly due to flooding, debris, or accidents. Use traffic apps and websites or check with local authorities to keep up-to-date on road conditions. Avoid traveling on closed roads. This will prevent accidents and delays.
Accident.com places a strong emphasis on its commitment to aiding drivers who have been involved in auto accidents by connecting them with qualified attorneys. While it’s crucial to be well-prepared for hurricane season, maintaining safety during such extreme weather events should always be a top priority. This involves staying informed, keeping your vehicle in good condition, assembling an emergency supply kit, and adopting safe driving practices to minimize the risk of accidents when hurricanes or tropical storms strike.
Always remember that safety comes first, and if conditions become perilous, don’t hesitate to postpone or cancel your trip. Prioritize caution and adhere to these safety guidelines to ensure the protection of both yourself and your loved ones throughout the hurricane season. Accident.com is here to assist drivers in finding the legal support they need after an auto accident.