A major component to living in paradise is the constant change in weather. Floridians can wake up to sunny skies, and by mid-day find themselves caught in the middle of a torrential downpour. In the summertime, rainy days are particularly common, as hurricane season brings about tropical activity from June through December. With rain a regular (and ironic) occurrence of the “Sunshine” State, driving in the rain is also a Florida staple. Yet, even experienced Florida drivers are not devoid of the dangers and challenges of inclement weather. Below are some tips to avoid a collision, charge or citation if you’re on the road during a storm.
Common sense dictates reducing your speed in the rain. Rain causes reduced visibility and slippery roads, which in turn diminishes your ability to control your motor vehicle. The loss of control of your vehicle due to standing water on the roads is known as hydroplaning, and it is one of the most common causes of accidents in the rain. Reducing your speed reduces the chances of hydroplaning.
The law is in agreement with common sense and punishes those who drive too fast for conditions, even if they are driving the posted speed limit. Florida Statute §316.183(4)(e) requires a driver to drive “at an appropriately reduced speed…when any special hazard exists…by reason of weather or highway conditions.” The failure of a driver to modify his or her driving in bad weather is a traffic infraction.
The driving violation can escalate to an additional citation for Failure to Use Due Care (infraction), Careless Driving (infraction), or even Reckless Driving (misdemeanor) for those who display a particularly egregious driving pattern during inclement weather. The law states that a driver is required to drive in a safe and prudent manner with regard for all circumstances and people. Disregarding the safety of others could result in a traffic ticket at best, and a criminal charge at worst.
Use your windshield wipers
Another common sense action for driving in the rain is turning on your windshield wipers to clear the rain from the windshield. Florida law requires every motor vehicle to have windshield wipers and maintain them in “good working order.” Florida Statute §316.2952(3) & 4. A violation of this law constitutes a traffic infraction.
Headlights – Yes. Hazard Lights – No!
Rain often comes with dark clouds that darken the landscape and reduce visibility. The law as outlined in Florida Statute §316.217 requires you to turn on your headlights in bad weather so that you can see the road and other drivers can see you. Failure to turn on your lights in the rain is a traffic infraction.
What most people don’t know is that the other extreme is also considered an infraction. Many well-intentioned drivers use their hazard lights in the rain as a safety measure. In Florida, it is illegal to use your flashing hazard lights for this purpose.
Charged with a rain-related driving offense?
If you have been charged with Driving Too Fast for Conditions, Careless Driving, Reckless Driving, or any other offense related to rainy weather, it is in your best interest to hire a skilled attorney that specializes in both traffic tickets and criminal traffic defense. You may have been cited on scene, but it is not too late to investigate the facts and fight your charges.
With Casanova Law as your legal team, you will have the dual benefit of experienced representation and transparency regarding every step we take on your behalf. Our one-on-one client relationships, along with our substantial experience defending clients in traffic offenses is a unique and catered approach to your representation. Our criminal defense law firm will do everything in its power to obtain the best possible result for your case, which may be reduced or dismissed charges. We service Martin County, Palm Beach County, Glades County and Hendry County. Call us today to schedule a consultation.