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How Bad Weather Increases Car Accident Risks in Florida

Florida, the Sunshine State, is renowned for its beautiful weather. Yet, it's no stranger to sudden downpours, dense fog, powerful winds, and even the occasional hurricane. 

While these conditions can certainly make the landscape more dramatic, they also dramatically increase the risk of car accidents.

In this blog post, we will discuss how weather can cause accidents, who might be at fault, and how to navigate the aftermath.

How does weather contribute to car accidents in Florida?

Florida's weather isn't just about sunshine and rainbows. Rainstorms, fog banks, and powerful winds create specific hazards that every driver needs to be prepared for. Let's break down how these conditions increase your risk of a collision.

1. Rain

    Florida's rain is often intense, leading to slippery roads and decreased visibility. When the first drops fall, they mix with oil and grime on the road, creating a dangerously slick surface. 

    Even experienced drivers can lose control, leading to hydroplaning, rear-end collisions, and multi-car pileups.

    How to stay safe?

    • Reduce your speed as soon as rain starts. The faster you go, the harder it is to control your car on wet roads.
    • Double the usual space between your car and the one in front of you. This gives you more time to react if the vehicle ahead skids or stops suddenly.
    • Not only does this improve your visibility, but it also makes you more visible to other drivers.
    • Brake gently and early to avoid skidding.

    2. Fog

    Fog can roll in unexpectedly, especially along the coast, and reduce visibility to near zero. In these conditions, even driving at slow speeds can be treacherous.

    How to stay safe?

    • Use low beams because high beams reflect off the fog and make it harder to see.
    • Reduce your speed significantly and be prepared to stop if visibility becomes too poor.
    • Use fog lights if your car has them. Fog lights are designed to cut through fog better than regular headlights.
    • Increase the following distance. Give yourself ample space to react to any sudden stops or obstacles.

    3. High Winds

    Florida's winds can be surprisingly strong, especially during thunderstorms and tropical systems. These gusts can push vehicles off course, making it difficult to stay in your lane. High-profile vehicles like trucks and SUVs are particularly vulnerable.

    How to stay safe?

    • Keep a firm grip on the wheel. Be prepared for sudden gusts and correct your steering as needed.
    • Strong winds can make your car harder to control, so slow down to maintain stability.
    • Wind can carry branches, trash, and other objects that cause damage or accidents.

    4. Hurricanes and tropical storms

    When a hurricane or tropical storm approaches, the safest place to be is indoors. The combination of heavy rain, high winds, and potential flooding makes driving extremely dangerous.

    How to stay safe?

    • If authorities issue an evacuation order, leave as early as possible. Don't wait until the storm hits.
    • Avoid driving through standing water. It's impossible to know how deep the water is or what hazards might be hidden beneath the surface.

    How to determine fault in weather-related car accidents?

    Florida operates under a "comparative negligence" system. This means that even if you were partially at fault for an accident, you may still be able to recover some damages. However, the amount you can recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

    Here are some of the factors that determine fault:

    • Driver behavior: Were you speeding? Following too closely? Failing to use your headlights in the rain?
    • Vehicle maintenance: Were your tires in good condition? Did your brakes work properly?
    • Road conditions: Was the road poorly maintained or designed in a way that contributed to the accident?

    What to do after a weather-related car accident?

    After a weather-related car accident, the steps you take are crucial for your safety, well-being, and potential legal claims. 

    Here's a breakdown of what to do:

    1. Prioritize safety

    Assess yourself and others involved for any injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately. If possible and safe, move your vehicle to the side of the road or a safe location to prevent further accidents. Turn on hazard lights.

    Call the police. Even in minor accidents, it's important to have a police report documenting the incident.

    1. Seek medical attention

    Even if you feel fine, some injuries may not be immediately apparent. It's essential to get checked by a medical professional to rule out any hidden injuries. Keep copies of any medical reports, bills, and other documentation related to your injuries.

    1. Document the scene

    Exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers involved. Document the scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, weather conditions (if safe), and any visible injuries. Talk to witnesses and get their contact information.

    1. Notify your insurance company

    Contact your insurance company promptly to report the accident. Be factual and avoid admitting fault. Provide them with the details of the accident and any documentation you have.

    1. Consult a car accident attorney

    An experienced accident attorney can investigate the circumstances of your crash, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. 

    Furthermore, weather-related accidents can be complex, and an attorney can help you determine liability and seek compensation for damages. If necessary, they can also represent you in court.

    Don’t Let Bad Weather Ruin Your Life—Get in Touch with Atty. Rafael Gonzalez Today

    Are you looking for a car accident attorney near me? If so, Attorney Rafael Gonzalez from Ask My Attorneys is here to help you.

    Atty. Rafael Gonzalez is a car accident and Pembroke Pines personal injury lawyer with extensive experience in cases like yours. He understands how difficult this time can be, which is why he offers a free consultation to evaluate your case and explain your legal options.

    Whether you need a Spanish-speaking lawyer or looking for accident attorneys in Florida, Atty. Rafael Gonzalez and his team are committed to fighting for your rights and getting you the compensation you deserve.Schedule a meeting with our personal injury lawyer for a free consultation today!

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    Meet Atty. Rafael Gonzalez

    Attorney Rafael A. Gonzalez received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. 

    While at the University of Miami, Mr. Gonzalez earned a judicial clerk position with the Honorable Judge Shelley Kravitz of the County Court House for Miami Dade County and took part in one of the largest product liability litigation cases in the United States. The case, Engle v Liggett, was against tobacco companies and resulted in a 145 billion dollar award to the plaintiffs. 

    Mr. Gonzalez earned his stripes working with firms in Downtown Miami and Hialeah, Florida as a civil attorney. In 2010, Mr. Gonzalez joined forces with other civil litigators as a partner in the law firm of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp and Gonzalez specializing in motor vehicle accidents.

    Read more about him here.
    06/20/2024
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