This summer, it seems the generic “hot enough for you?” conversation
filler has been replaced by “wet enough for you?” While great
at making everything lush and green, this season's rainfall has also
made much of the state a flood zone. Lakes and rivers are high, lawns
are marshy, and water collects on the roads. In a recent
National Weather Service flood advisory for parts of Miami-Dade county, residents were reminded that “excessive runoff from heavy rainfall
causes the flooding that affects urban areas, highways, streets, underpasses,
and other low-lying spots.”
Don’t try to drive through water on the roadways. The depth of floodwaters
can be very easy to misjudge. It takes only six inches of swift moving
water to knock a person off balance and two feet to sweep a car off of
the road (or to get pulled into the air intake system and stall the engine).
Florida Highway Patrol reminds everyone that the safest approach is “Turn
Around – Don’t Drown.”
Driving in these conditions can be very dangerous, so no matter where you
are headed, keep in mind a few tips for safely navigating wet roads and
highways. First and foremost,
officials have developed a catchphrase reminding people to “turn
around, don't drown.” While you're driving, it's almost impossible to tell how deep
a puddle of water is, especially at highway speeds. It's incredibly
easy to hydroplane if you're going too fast. The grooves on rubber
tires are designed to channel water so that when the road is wet, the
tire itself still makes significant contact with the road. Hydroplaning
occurs when there is too much water for the tire to handle, causing it
to lose traction and resulting in the driver's having trouble steering
and braking. When even light rain mixes with oil residue on roads, vehicles
become more likely to hydroplane. To avoid this hazardous situation:
- Slow down. High speeds make it
difficult for tires to scatter water.
- Avoid driving in the outer lanes
where water accumulates.
- Steer clear of puddles and standing water.
- Keep tires properly inflated.
Rotate and replace when necessary.
- Drive in a lower gear.
- Don't use cruise control.
- Try to drive in the tire tracks
of the vehicle in front of you.
- Avoid hard braking.
- Ease into turns.
Aside from the risk of hydroplaning, another serious risk comes from attempting
to drive in water that is simply too deep for your car to navigate. If
you find yourself on a street or parking lot unable to drive out of deep
water, the best thing to do is immediately turn off the car. Out of panic
or concern for a schedule to keep, you may feel inclined to keep trying
to drive out of the water, but that is almost definitely going to pull
water into your engine and cause it to stall. It will also likely run
you $3,000 - $6,000 to repair. If you're driving and your car suddenly
stalls from taking on too much water, that also causes obvious risks not
only to yourself, your passengers and the vehicle, but to the other motorists
on the road. Water can also short-circuit the electronic components in
your car, affecting your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals, making
it virtually impossible for other vehicles on the road, including emergency
vehicles, to see you.
It's best not to use your hazard lights unless you are actually stopped
on the side of the road or not able to move the vehicle out of a lane.
Driving with hazards on can be a confusing signal to other drivers. Obviously,
you should also always wear a seatbelt, use your wipers, and drive with
your lights on.
We Can Help
As one of South Florida's most respected and oldest law firms, Stabinski
& Funt, P.A. has helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities,
and remedies. We are highly experienced in handling flood loss claims
and, in many cases, we can do so without cost to you. Fees and expenses
are frequently paid by the insurance company, so nothing comes out of
your recovery. We can also help individuals who have been injured in vehicle
accidents by negligent motorists. We work on a contingency basis, which
means that if there is no recovery, there is no fee or cost to you. If
you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you,
we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 305-964-8644 or
filling out a case evaluation form.