Every Floridian knows that for six months of the year, there’s a real chance of facing a hurricane.
The hurricane season in Florida officially lasts from June 1 to November 30, and every part of the state has been affected at some point. The carnage they leave behind makes for some treacherous driving conditions. You guessed it – auto accidents follow.
On average, there are almost 6 million vehicle crashes in the US each year, and 21% are weather related. Let’s take a look at why the Florida hurricane season makes driving so dangerous and what you can do to protect yourself.
Why Hurricanes Make Driving So Dangerous
Digging a little deeper into the ten-year statistics shows why driving during or around the time of a hurricane is such a bad idea. Hurricanes bring torrential rain. Wet pavement is responsible for 70% of all weather-related crashes.
Of course, you’re also vulnerable to flying debris, falling trees, and ridiculously strong winds. But your biggest danger is the wet roads and floodwaters.
Hurricanes can cause people to get trapped in vehicles that then get submerged in floodwaters. In the recent hurricane Ian, at least two deaths were the result of hurricane auto accidents.
The simple message is this: do not drive during a hurricane.
When Is It Safe to Drive After a Hurricane?
Don’t use your own judgment to decide when it’s safe to drive after a hurricane. Listen to the local news on the TV or radio to get up-to-date reports on the current status of the storm. Even the weakest hurricanes produce winds of 74-95 mph that can snap branches, fall trees, and send roof shingles flying.
Avoiding Car Accidents After a Hurricane
First, check your vehicle. Unless your car was parked in a garage that survived the hurricane unscathed, there’s a high possibility you’ll have some vehicle damage. If you see any signs of damage, call your insurance company.
Be sure to take lots of photos of the car and the surrounding area. This may help the insurance company to process your claim.
Was your vehicle submerged during the storm? Never start the engine. This can cause serious damage that will be costly to repair.
Prepare Your Car and Yourself for Travel
Your chances of getting a flat tire are much higher after a hurricane. Make sure that you have an emergency repair kit with you. If you’re not confident to use it, stay home until conditions improve.
Also, prepare your mind for what you’re about the experience. There may be pedestrians on the road, trying to assess the damage. They may be dazed and not as aware of their surroundings as they normally would be.
Remember that everyone on the road will be a little traumatized. So be prepared to be courteous and ready for some erratic driving. Give people a little extra time and patience at intersections.
Safe Driving After a Hurricane
If you do decide it’s safe to venture out, take it slowly and test your brakes. Wet brakes can be slower to respond.
Remember that debris on the roads can cause punctures. Follow the rules of the road and expect the unexpected.
If you come across fallen trees, do not drive under them. They can suddenly collapse on your car. They may also conceal power lines that can swing down and cause devastation.
Also, don’t risk driving on flooded roads. If there’s standing water on the road, choose an alternative route.
What to Do if You’ve Had a Hurricane Auto Accident
If you find yourself in a hurricane-related car accident, don’t panic. First, stop and get yourself to a place of safety. Check everyone for injuries and call 911 if needed.
In Florida, almost every accident must be reported to the police. They’ll give you an accident report which you will need to file a claim. Take down details of all other parties involved and take photos of the scene.
Talk to your insurance company as soon after the accident as possible.
Seek Medical Attention
Under Florida State Law, all vehicle owners must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This no-fault insurance covers up to $10,000 in medical bills and other types of compensation following an auto accident. But you must receive care within 14 days of an auto accident to qualify for this compensation.
Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s good to get yourself checked out at an emergency room, urgent care, or by a primary care doctor. Some injuries are not obvious right away. It can take hours or even days for the pain to begin.
How an Auto Accident Attorney Can Help
Once you’ve started to receive treatment for your injuries, it’s time to turn to an auto accident attorney. They can help you to file a civil claim, targeting the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Without representation, you may achieve the highest level of compensation. You can claim compensation for:
- Medical expenses – present and future
- Expenses related to ongoing disabilities
- Lost wages
- Damage/destruction of property
- Pain and suffering
The Florida hurricane season can have a long-lasting impact on your life and ability to provide for your family. If you’ve been injured and it wasn’t your fault, you’ve got a right to battle for the compensation you deserve. Let an auto accident attorney represent you and handle the stress for you.
You concentrate on recovering while your attorney focuses on getting you the best possible settlement.
Trust Rhino Lawyers this Hurricane Season in Florida
The hurricane season in Florida can bring a lot of pain and suffering. If you’re suffering from an auto accident injury on top of everything else, make sure that you get the compensation you deserve.
At RHINO Lawyers, you’ll work directly with an attorney, not a case worker. We’ll work tirelessly to increase your settlement by reducing your medical bills. Plus, if we don’t win, you won’t have to pay us a penny.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.