Florida Roads Dangerous When Wet – Precautions and Tips to Follow

If you have lived in Florida any length of time, you know about those sudden afternoon showers.  The days can be very hot. The roads had been polished and smooth by the oil spots on the road. The rain blends with the oil and rubber-dust deposits and it becomes a recipe for disaster. The intersections can be very dangerous spots where cars stop and start frequently. It takes a while for these areas to be saturated and be washed off the road.

Before you get on the road, here are some precautions to follow in addition to regular auto maintenance:

  1. Check tire tread as well as tire pressure.
  2. Wipers should be replaced at least once a year.
  3. Every car should have a good emergency kit.

While driving in rain, here are some helpful tips to avoid dangerous situations:

  1. Turn on headlights even if not raining heavy. Daytime running lights are also helpful.
  2. Adjust your speed to the wet roads. Don’t expect to go the same speed on roads that you would normally travel.  If it is raining don’t rush and allow for longer driving time if you need to be somewhere.
  3. Defog windows when needed.
  4. Stay toward middle lanes due to water pools in the outside lanes. If the water is deeper than the bottom of the door, find another route.
  5. When driving through water, drive slowly and break softly. After the puddle slowly tap breaks to help dry off pads.
  6. Drive in the tracks of the vehicles in front of you however do not follow too closely to trucks and buses that may spray more water in your line of vision.
  7. If unable to see the road or what is in front of you, you should pull over and wait for the rain to subside.

What to do if car starts to hydroplane or skid:

  1. If hydroplaning don’t brake suddenly or turn the wheel. This can cause you to go into a skid. Let off the gas slowly and try to steer straight. If braking is necessary, pump the brakes lightly (unless you have anti-lock brakes you can brake normally). Wait until you can feel the wheel on the road again.
  2. If you do start to go into a spin, don’t’ panic, take foot off gas slowly and steer the car in the direction you want to go. You may have to turn the wheel several times to keep the vehicle in a straight line. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, avoid braking. If you do have anti-lock brakes, break firmly as you steer into the spin.

In heavy rains the best way to remain safe of the roads is to avoid driving during the worst of the downpour. However, if driving is necessary, please use good judgment and the precautions and tips above to stay safe on the roads.

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Car Maintenance

Whether your car is a week old or 10 years old, you can’t have safety without proper maintenance. Follow the maintenance guidelines included in your car’s manual and you should be in good shape. Long before you need to begin thinking about major vehicle checkups, you’ll want to pay attention to the little things that can make a world of
difference to your safety.
Windshields: Dirt on windshields and windows acts as a filter, reducing and scattering light while intensifying glare.
– Keep windows and windshields clean, inside and out.
– Keep wiper blades clean, and replace them when they start to streak or smear your windshield. Buy winter wiper blades if you live in an area with ice and snow.
– Do not add tinting to windshields or windows, as this can reduce visibility. (Light tinting is OK, and a tinted band
across the top of the windshield reduces glare without impairing vision.)
Tires: What’s the biggest issue concerning the safety of your tires? No, it’s not lack of tread (although proper tread is certainly important). The most important consideration is proper inflation. And as a bonus, properly inflated tires will improve your gas mileage.
The recommended pounds per square inch for your vehicle’s tires is based on the car’s design load limit, and can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door. The only way to know for sure that your tires are properly inflated is to check them with an accurate tire pressure gauge; it’s nearly impossible to tell if tires are
properly inflated just by looking or kicking!
You should check your tire pressure seasonally, before a long trip or whenever you have concerns about tire pressure.
– Tire pressure – Follow the inflation guidelines given in your car’s manual – not the number on the tire. Any tire can be used on more than one type of vehicle, and the number on the tire refers to the maximum permissible inflation pressure for that tire on any vehicle. Check your manual for the right tire pressure for your car.
– Tire wear – Remember to check your tires monthly for wear, as a problem can develop quickly. An easy way to determine if a tire has sufficient tread is to insert a penny, with Lincoln’s head straight down into the tread. If the tread doesn’t cover the top of his head, it’s time to go tire shopping!
Brakes: The importance of brakes goes without saying. It’s normal for brakes to wear. Have your mechanic check on them every 6,000 miles or so. However, have your brakes checked immediately if:
– You hear any grinding or screeching sounds
– The brake pedal feels less firm than it once did
– The steering wheel vibrates when you apply the brakes
These are just a few highlights about vehicle maintenance. Be sure to check your owner’s manual. There are also numerous books and Web sites available on car maintenance to give you guidance on keeping your car in top condition.

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