As Florida residents know, hurricanes season is upon us, requiring special preparation and awareness to prevent injuries. Whether you are a veteran hurricane survivor or you are new to the South Florida area, it is important to understand the risks associated with hurricane weather patterns. Hurricane Andrea’s flash storm appearance is a legitimate reminder to be prepared and alert this season.
Your safety and survival will depend on being aware and flexible in the event a serious storm is forecast. Our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys are passing on information from the Florida Highway Patrol to keep motorists safe this season.
In other cases, afternoon thunderstorms and other severe weather present additional risks.
Whether you sense a change in weather patterns, get a phone call from a friend or hear a warning on the news, it is never too early to take action and be prepared. At every stage, you should monitor the progress of a storm and follow instructions provided by emergency management officials. You should be especially aware of traffic, road conditions, road construction, lane closures, flooding, and other details that could put you in a dangerous position.
If possible, you should stay put. Do not leave your home or try to travel in the event of a storm. Even if you are not at home, you should be prepared to stay where you are, even for long periods of time. In many cases, injuries and deaths occur during the aftermath of a storm, when a motorist does not realize the dangers of flooding or other hazards on the road. Sightseers and other curious observers of the storm can also create obstacles for emergency personnel who are trying to respond to those in need.
When behind the wheel, you should slow down. It may be difficult to see the roadway in front of you which could cause you to rear-end another driver, hydroplane, or miss when you are running into flash flooding. When behind the wheel, you should also be cautious of high winds. Inclement weather conditions including rain, winds, and hail can affect all vehicles. Wind gusts can make driving especially difficult for some drivers, especially when turning or changing lanes. Motorcyclists, bus drivers and truck drivers should pay extra attention to how weather conditions can affect driving and safety.
Always pay extra attention during a storm. You may be in familiar territory, but not realize that an intersection device is down or a road has been closed. In some cases, a law enforcement officer may be directing traffic. You should follow his or her directions. If a sign is down and there is no officer present, treat the intersection as you would a four-way stop.
Never drive into moving water. Flash floods are extremely dangerous and cause a number of deaths and drowning every year. If you cannot see the roadway beneath the water, remember that a roadway could have been washed away and the water may be deeper than it seems.
Lastly, the Florida Department of Highway Vehicle Safety and Motor Vehicles encourages all drivers to update emergency contact information. Drivers who have a current license can enter up to two contacts in the Emergency Contact Information database.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for legal advice about your rights. Call for a free and confidential consultation at 1-800-561-7777.
Threats of Hurricanes in West Palm Beach and Elsewhere Likely, Are You Ready?, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, June 16, 2012
Palm Beach injury attorneys urge residents to prepare for hurricane season, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, June 24, 2010