If you’ve moved to Florida from out of state, you may not have anticipated the amount of rain the Sunshine State gets. During summer, it seems the sun is always shining; come winter, however, Florida gets rain like the Northern region gets snow. Before you venture out on Florida roadways in wet weather, make sure you know how to handle driving in the rain. Take a look at the tips below for a few precautions you should take.
Check Your Headlights
If you’re new to Florida, you may not be aware that Florida law requires drivers to use their headlights while it’s raining. Not only do headlights improve your visibility during a downpour, but they also alert other drivers to your presence. To make sure your vehicle’s headlights are fully functional, perform a quick examination once a week. Here’s how:
- Test illumination – Turn on your headlights to make sure both are working properly. Sometimes, one of your headlights burns out before the other, which can compromise visibility in heavy rain.
- Clean the surface – Dirt and grime can build up on the surface of your headlights, resulting in reduced visibility. To make sure your lights are as bright as possible, clean them once a week.
- Replace the bulbs – If you find that only one of your headlights has failed, make sure you replace both bulbs simultaneously. Chances are the still-functional bulb will burn out soon.
When to Use Hazards
In heavy rain, it’s common to see people driving with hazard lights flashing to indicate they are moving slower than surrounding traffic. But in Florida, it’s actually illegal to use hazard lights while driving unless you are part of a funeral procession. During a downpour—which can be a daily occurrence in Florida—you might be tempted to flick on your hazard lights, but those lights can be a huge distraction to other drivers. Flashing lights were designed with the express purpose of indicating a hazard to other drivers, and they should only be activated when your vehicle is a hazard on the side of the road. Using them under any other circumstance is not only unnecessary, but it also causes confusion. If it’s raining, the only lights you should turn on are your headlights.
Have you ever heard of hydroplaning? During Florida’s rainy season, losing traction on slippery roadways is a major concern. Hydroplaning refers to the dangerous sliding action your tires experience when they encounter more water than they can disperse. Usually, this phenomenon occurs at higher speeds and in heavily trafficked areas where more oil residue accumulates on the pavement. To avoid hydroplaning, experts recommend slowing down significantly on wet roadways. The faster you drive, the more difficult it is for your tires to disperse water on the road. If you’re on the freeway, move into the slow lane; if you’re on city streets or residential roadways, the lower speed limits should allow your tires to keep traction. Other precautions you can take to avoid hydroplaning include the following:
- Avoiding driving through standing water or puddles
- Making sure your tires are inflated to factory specifications
- Turning off your cruise control
- Not braking suddenly
- Not making sharp, rapid turns
Driving in heavy rain can be intimidating, but with proper vehicle maintenance, knowledge of local laws and a bit of common sense, you can safely travel during a downpour. The more often you drive in the rain, the better you’ll become at navigating wet roadways.
With the amount of rain Florida gets, you’ll want to make sure you have a quality roof that won’t leak. Contact us for a quote on a new roof today!