While driving in clear conditions requires a motorist’s full attention and care and skill, driving in inclement weather requires an even greater level of care. Adverse weather can obstruct a driver’s visibility and make vehicles handle differently on the road. Unfortunately, too many drivers fail to adjust their driving behaviors when in inclement weather. As a result, weather conditions can increase the risk of a car accident, and in fact contribute to hundreds of thousands of motor vehicle accidents each year.
As a driver in Florida, you should understand how inclement weather can increase your chances of being involved in a car accident and what steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe when out in bad weather.
Weather-Related Car Accident Statistics
According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately 21 percent of the nearly six million motor vehicle accidents that take place on U.S. roads every year are attributed in part or in whole to the weather conditions at the time of the accident. This includes both adverse weather such as rain, fog, or severe winds, as well as slick pavement caused by precipitation or flooding. Nearly 5,000 people are killed and over 400,000 people are injured every year in weather-related auto accidents.
Most weather-related auto accidents occur on wet pavement or during rainfall, with 70 percent of crashes happening on wet pavement and 46 percent occurring during rainfall. Fog is only involved in about three percent of all auto accidents.
How Inclement Weather Contributes to a Rise in Car Accidents
Certain kinds of inclement weather, including rain, hail, or fog can reduce a driver’s visibility, making it harder to see objects further away. This can mean that drivers have less time to react when they do see a hazard or emergency in front of them.
Rain or other precipitation also makes roads wet, which reduces tire grip on the road. This means that stopping distances are greater, while the risk of losing control of a vehicle during a maneuver increases. High crosswinds can also make it more difficult for drivers to keep control of their vehicles, especially when driving high-profile SUVs or trucks.
Car accident rates increase during inclement weather because many drivers fail to adjust their driving behaviors in such weather, including slowing down and leaving additional distance between themselves and other vehicles.
Tips for Staying Safe on the Road in Bad Weather
Steps that drivers can take to stay safe on the road in inclement weather include:
- Slow down in rain, hail, fog, or other weather conditions that make the roads wet and/or reduce visibility. If you need to significantly slow down in heavy rain, you might also want to consider activating your hazard lights to warn other drivers that you are driving considerably below the speed limit.
- Never drive through puddles of standing water, as it poses a risk of causing your vehicle to hydroplane and can also splash water that can impair the visibility of other drivers around you.
- If the road is flooded, do not attempt to continue on the road. Even a few inches of water has the potential of disabling your vehicle.
- Keep extra distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
- Wear sunglasses if you find yourself driving through a sunshower.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured because of car accidents in Coconut Creek, Plantation, Pompano Beach, and Pembroke Pines, and throughout Florida. Call (954) 525-2345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Plantation, and Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.