Hazardous Driving Conditions
A number of tragic accidents have occurred recently due in part to dangerous driving conditions involving fog, mist or smoke. In late January, 2012, a brush fire was the catalyst responsible for a deadly series of automobile accidents and collisions on I-75, near Gainesville, Florida, which ultimately claimed 10 lives and sent at least 21 others to hospitals. The smoke reduced highway visibility to virtually nothing and set off the most deadly chain of traffic fatalities in memory.
There are several defensive driving techniques you can employ to enhance your safety: (1) simply exit the roadway when you can safely do so if the roadway is unsafe; (2) keep your minimum safety gap between you and other vehicles to three seconds in ideal conditions (with the decreased visibility in hazardous weather conditions, this interval should be increased substantially); (3) reduce speed (but, not less than minimum conditions); (4) ensure that your vehicle is visible to others by turning on fog lights or using low beams in foggy or misty conditions (high beams direct light up into the fog making it difficult for you to see–low beams direct light down onto the road and help other drivers to see you; (5) if you leave the roadway pull off completely to the far right of the safety lane and immediately turn off your driving lights and turn on your flashers (so others know you’re there but won’t think you are driving on the road); (6) use your defroster and windscreen wipers in foggy conditions to keep the windows clear; (7) keep an eye on your speedometer and maintain a safe, constant speed; and (8) remember that other drivers may have a limited sight distance (signal as early as possible and when using your brakes depress them slowly to avoid a sudden, unexpected stop).
We all face the possibility of driving in hazardous weather conditions. Please remember these important safety tips when facing hazardous conditions on the roadways. If you have any questions about this article, please contact an attorney at SESSUMS LAW GROUP, P.A. any time. WE STAND FOR YOU!
Mark A. Sessums, Esq., is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and handles automobile and motor vehicle accident and injury cases throughout Florida with the firm, SESSUMS LAW GROUP, P.A. The firm has office locations in Lakeland, Florida and Sebring, Florida.