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Hazards in the Rain

Welcome to rainy season in Florida. Every afternoon, it seems like we get a drenching downpour or a series of wild thunderstorms, and then we return to our regularly scheduled hot and muggy weather. What are the driving laws that surround this weather, and what do you need to be prepared for if you are on the road when this weather approaches?

Florida state law is very clear about driving in hazardous conditions. If you’re on the road while it’s raining or if you can’t see clearly, then you need to have your headlights on. This is not only so that you can see, but also so that other drivers can see you. From a liability perspective, you don’t want to give either law enforcement or an insurance company an excuse to come after you after a collision in the rain because the other driver couldn’t see you. If you’re in the car and you see dark clouds approaching, turn your headlamps on just in case. Check your vehicle’s settings in case you have automated headlamps; they may require a certain level of darkness before activating, and a sun shower or light rain may not trigger them.

If you’re on the road and the weather gets bad, you’ll often see people begin to turn their hazard lights on, particularly if you’re traveling on Interstate 75 in our area. This is not only irresponsible, but highly illegal. Florida state law clearly states that your hazard lights should only be reserved for a disabled vehicle or for an emergency situation. If you have your hazards on in severe weather and you’ve slowed to a speed that is well under the designated speed limit, then you are breaking the law and enforcement agents are within their rights to issue you a citation. In their minds, your hazards should only be signifying that there is an emergency occurring in or around your vehicle. If you’re on the road and you can’t see because of the rain, the wind has picked up and you can’t control your vehicle, or even if you’re simply uncomfortable driving in potentially hazardous conditions, then you need to find an exit, pull over, and wait for the storm to pass.

This is important because it is not only for your safety, but also for the safety of all the other drivers on the road. If you have questions about driving during these conditions, feel free to contact your local Sheriff’s sub-station.

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