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Bagen Law Blog

Tips for Driving in Florida's Inclement Weather

Posted by Steven A. Bagen

Apr 3, 2014 2:59:00 PM

bigstock-bad-weather-night-driving-55413947It is always important to be very conscientious when driving in inclement weather. An issue that may ordinarily be small can cause a big disaster. Good driving habits in harsh weather are necessary to avoid accidents for short or long trips. Whether you're a driver of a motorcycle, big rig or anything in between, reviewing safety information is a good idea for drivers of all ages. Inclement weather should not be taken lightly.

Brush Fire Smoke or Fog

Some rules apply for nearly every type of ride. But, there are some differences worth noting. If you are caught in foggy or smoky weather conditions, take these driving tips into consideration.

  • Switch headlights to low beam.

  • Reduce speed, especially in big rigs, which already take extra room to stop.

  • Be vigil - obstacles easily hide in fog, even when right in front of us.

  • On a motorcycle, scooter or even a bicycle, there are the extra disadvantages of having no horizon to judge how much we are leaning and everything sounding differently. It can be unnerving.

  • Keep more distance than usual between you and the next vehicle. Many drivers are very anxious and will suddenly stop for no apparent reason.

  • If the fog is too heavy to follow the painted line, it is definitely time to park for a while, regardless of type of vehicle.

  • When driving through brush fire smoke in a car, switch off fresh air to the recycled setting and close windows for reducing the smoke inhalation. For bikes, scooters or motorcycles, wrap a headband or shirt around the nose and mouth.


Cars, Tractor Trailers or RVs:

  • Keep windows closed.

  • Slow your speed for safety and to reduce the dents in the vehicle from the hail stones.

  • Keep distances between vehicles – the road is a much more slippery with hail.

Motorcycles, Scooters, Bicycles:

  • Slow down or stop altogether. High winds usually accompany hail storms. One unexpected gust can lay down a bike.

  • Put down the visor on helmets – the pellets are blinding and painful.

Heavy Rain

Cars, Tractor Trailers or RVs:

  • Visibility is depleted not only from the rain, but also the fogging of windows. Roll down a window an inch to allow for more airflow.

  • Be aware that the falling rain on the roof and hood reduces the sounds of other vehicles – including horns.

  • Turn on defrosters for windshield and back window.

Motorcycles, Scooters or Bicycles:

  • Stop if at all possible.

  • Add a lot of extra space between vehicles in case of sudden hydroplaning.

  • When in a group, ride single-file, with extra space at corners and turns.

  • If you are unfamiliar with the road, check a current map or talking to locals is a great idea. From here you may learn of new road surfaces which can be very slick in heavy rain.

  • Wear rain gear – cold hands and feet have slower responses, just when needed most.

Strong Winds

Cars, Tractor Trailers or RVs:

  • Keep both hands on the wheel to have optimal control over your vehicle. Trailers are especially susceptible to sudden swings.

  • Slow your speed.

  • Keep space between your vehicle and those surrounding.

Motorcycles, Scooters or Bicycles:

  • Slow your speed.

  • Look for openings in fences and between buildings – the wind will gust here.

  • Keeping the upper body loose helps the bike maneuver better in sudden gusts.

  • Lean forward a bit to reduce friction with the wind.


All types of vehicles should avoid driving in floods and should be done only in emergencies.

  • Standing water can be deeper than expected, or cover obstacles – drive slowly and steadily.

  • Stay off barricaded roads. These roads are blocked off for your protection.

  • Be observant of puddles with broken power lines. Water conducts electricity.

  • Watch for objects running downstream. They can crush bikers or block the way for cars and trucks.

  • After driving through standing water, test brakes while driving very slowly.

Tornadoes and Hurricanes

If driving down the road and the sky turns a dark kind of green, turn on the radio immediately to a local (preferably weather) channel.

First remember the difference between a watch and a warning. The watch issues a public announcement when the conditions are just right and at any time, a twister could form. This allows folks to prepare in a calm but focused manner to put plans into action. The warning means the twister has already been detected.

Both should be taken very seriously, no matter how many times we hear false alarms. Always assume a twister is heading directly toward you. Regardless of your mode of transportation, get off the road and find cover. Even a tractor trailer is no match for a tornado or hurricane. Find a basement below ground level or remain on the first floor of any building and always stay away from windows.

Help When Needed Most

Contact us with any questions about inclement weather or other driving tips and we will be happy to answer them. Steven A. Bagen & Associates has been opened for business well over three decades. We take pride in not only getting the results you need, but also give you the one-on-one attention your case deserves.

Talk to Steven Bagen Attorney Gainesville Ocala Florida

Topics: Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Truck Accidents