Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolinas last week, bringing gale force winds, torrential rain, and devastating floods into our state and surrounding areas.
It goes without saying that these weather conditions are serious and deadly, posing serious safety hazards. North Carolina residents are all too familiar with hurricanes. These storms affect just about every aspect of our lives, including transportation.
Car Accidents & Hurricanes
There are approximately 5,800,000 car accidents every year in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 1,000,000 of these accidents, or 23 percent, are caused by poor weather conditions. Sadly, 450,000 people are injured in these accidents annually. 6,000 are killed.
A hurricane creates a variety of driving hazards resulting from roads being submerged, rapidly rising waters, poor visibility, and poor traction.
If there are heavy winds and water, maintaining control of a car is challenging, and even impossible. If the electricity is knocked out, traffic lights may not work, which only adds to the high risks. Drivers often exercise poor judgment in these conditions. In extreme weather, drivers shouldn’t be on the road at all.
If your area experiences dangerous weather conditions, stay off the road. There are situations where this may not be possible. So, if you do have to drive, please review these safety tips. It could save your life, and the lives of others.
Driving Through Standing Water
Don’t drive in flooded areas, period. Even if the water doesn’t look deep, and you think you know the road, don’t drive. You can’t determine what might be in high water areas like power lines and debris. The water can be a lot deeper than it looks. Once you’ve entered a flooded stretch of road, it could be too late to negotiate it. You risk losing your car – or worse.
Driving in Wind and Rain
If you must drive, slow down. Wind can blow your car off course. It can also dangerously affect the cars around you. Driving at a slower speed helps you maintain control.
Driving Without Traffic Lights
If a public safety officer is directing traffic, follow their instructions. If there isn’t an officer present, come to a complete stop and watch for other cars and pedestrians. Follow the rules of the road and yield to other cars. If you approach the intersection at the same time with another car, yield to the car on your right.
Everyone in the Carolinas have been through a tremendously challenging week. In fact, it’s one of the worst in memory. The post-hurricane Florence period will be a difficult one for all of us. We sincerely hope you are safe. Recovery, rebuilding and cleanup could take many months. So, please stay vigilant as you, your family and your neighbors start to move forward. If you have experienced an accident, please contact us. We’ll do everything we can to provide help and legal advice.