8 Safety Tips to Avoid Car Accidents When Driving in the Rain

Florida is one of the country’s wettest states. According to the Florida Climate Center, “Florida is situated within a part of the United States where torrential rain is a common occurrence,” particularly along the coast. Torrential rain being defined as at least 3 inches in a single day.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, bad weather conditions, including snow, rain, ice, and sleet, are responsible for more than 20% of all car accidents in the United States. Specifically, 70% of weather-related accidents happen on wet pavement and 46% during rainfall.

Although bad weather can play a significant role in causing Florida car accidents, it doesn’t mean that a driver cannot be partially or fully at fault for a weather-related crash, especially if they failed to adjust their driving for the bad weather conditions. To help you navigate these murky waters, it is advised to contact Fetterman & Associates, P.A. West Palm Beach car accident attorneys if you were involved in a car accident when driving in the rain. 

Why is driving in the Florida rain so dangerous?

Driving in the rain is dangerous and increases the risk of car accidents on Florida’s roads due to the following six factors: 

  1. Wet pavement creates a thin film between the car tires and the road, increasing the risk of hydroplaning; 
  2. Heavy rain can lower visibility on the road, which is why drivers are less likely to see other vehicles, anticipate hazardous situations, or react to dangerous conditions when driving in the rain; 
  3. A combination of humidity and rapid changes in temperature can cause the vehicle’s windshield to fog up, further impairing visibility; 
  4. A build-up of engine oil and other substances on the road can mix with rainwater, causing the roadway to become even more slippery and slick; 
  5. Potholes tend to fill up with water when it’s raining, and that hidden pothole could contribute to an auto accident; and
  6. Many drivers are driving in the rain with their hazard lights blinking which creates confusion for other drivers because the bulbs for hazard lights can be the same as the ones for the brake lights or turn signals. In fact, under Section 316.2397, Florida Statutes, it’s illegal to drive with emergency flashers on except only to indicate that the vehicle is disabled or lawfully stopped upon the highway. 

Who’s at fault in rain-related car accidents in Florida?

Under Florida’s pure comparative negligence rule, multiple drivers can be found at fault for a car accident. Under Section 768.81, Florida Statutes, a driver who was found partially responsible for causing a crash is entitled to compensation, but his or her compensation will be reduced in proportion to the degree of fault. 

When it comes to establishing fault in car accidents caused by rain or other adverse weather conditions, it must be considered whether the drivers involved acted reasonably. What is “reasonable” depends on the specific weather conditions. 

For example, under Section 316.183, Florida Statutes, you are prohibited from driving a motor vehicle at a speed “greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.” 

This law applies to every driver, so be sure that you are adjusting your own driving in order to be safe on the rainy Florida roads. Below we’ve provided eight safety tips to protect yourself and others when driving in the rain.

8 Safety tips for driving in the Florida rain

Follow these eight safety tips when driving in the rain to minimize the risk of being involved in a car accident on Florida’s roads: 

  1. Check your tires. Before heading out, make sure that your tires are ready for the rain. You need to ensure that your tires have proper tire tread depth and inflation. 
  2. Reduce your speed. Driving through several inches of water at a higher rate of speed increases the risk of hydroplaning. To prevent this, you should reduce your speed. In fact, under Florida law, drivers are required to drive “at an appropriately reduced speed” when weather or road conditions are bad. 
  3. Maintain a safe distance between vehicles. Since your car has less traction during bad weather, you need to allow more space between your car and the vehicle in front of you. This would give you more time to brake and stop in time to avoid a collision. 
  4. Turn on your headlights. When driving in the rain, you should turn on your low beam (dim) headlights so that other motorists can see you. In fact, you are legally required to do so. Under Section 316.217(b), Florida Statutes, drivers must display headlights when driving during rain, smoke, or fog. 
  5. Don’t turn on emergency flashers. It is both unsafe and illegal to drive in the rain with your hazard lights blinking. 
  6. Avoid puddles and standing water. As mentioned earlier, potholes tend to fill up with rainwater, which is why it’s best to avoid puddles as much as possible. 
  7. Drive in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you. Not only can you see where all the hidden potholes and obstacles are, but you can also follow a path with less water. 
  8. Focus on the road. Just because you are driving slowly doesn’t mean that you have an excuse to use your cellphone or can get distracted by any other electronic device. Doing so is both unsafe and illegal in Florida. Under Section 316.305, Florida Statutes, it’s unlawful to manually type letters, numbers, symbols, or any other characters into an electronic communication device while operating a vehicle. 

Unfortunately, the best safety tips don’t completely eliminate the risk of car accidents, especially if the rain is particularly bad, as Florida torrential rains can often be. If all else fails and you find yourself injured in a weather-related accident on Florida’s rainy roads, don’t hesitate to contact our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, P.A. Give us a call at 561-845-2510 to get a free consultation and discuss how you can obtain maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.