With the summer season in full swing, many of Orlando’s residents are taking full advantage of the hot weather that Florida has to offer. While this weather is usually fairly sunny, making beach trips and theme park visits rather enjoyable, those who have lived in Orlando for some time will know that with this sunshine comes rain, and lots of it! A quick glance at any Orlando weekly weather forecast will show rain on most (if not all) days of the week.
This daily summer rain occurs as a result of Orlando’s climate pattern, which is of the humid subtropical variety. This means cool winters, but very hot and humid summers. A rainy season normally exists between the months of May and October, with July and August having the most amount of rainfall. This rainy season results from air mass thundershowers that develop in the atmosphere every day. At the heat of the day (usually between 1-4 PM), a short but intense period of rain occurs as a result of these air masses.
Common Causes of Weather-Related Accidents in Florida
It is important for both visitors to and residents of Orlando to be mindful of this defined rainy season, especially when it comes to driving. During or following rainfall, the roads become very wet, which decreases the coefficient of kinetic friction between the road and a vehicle’s tires. This is a fancy way of saying that roads become very slippery when wet. In addition, heavy rainfall or fog can severely limit the visibility of the driver, as well as cause increased lane obstructions (lightning can knock down trees into the road, for example) and overall traffic.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, of the nearly 6 million vehicle accidents that occur every year in the U.S., close to one quarter of them are weather-related (precipitation, fog, etc.). Many weather-related accidents in Florida occur because of two main reasons: worn-out brakes and bald tires. These are exacerbated by the fact that Florida does not require yearly vehicle inspections, contrary to the policy of many other states. Severely worn brakes require the driver to apply pressure to the brakes that is greater than normal, in order for the vehicle to stop safely.
As a result, vehicles with worn brakes also take longer to stop. Since the roads become much more slippery when wet, having worn brakes will increase the risk of getting into an accident. Bald tires are those that have been severely worn out, with minimal (if any) thread remaining. A lack of thread on the tires means they won’t be able to grip the road’s surface as well as a normal tire. Bald tires also have an increased likelihood of blowing out or deflating.
Here are some quick tips you and your loved ones can follow in order to ensure safe driving in the winter:
- Routine vehicle maintenance – by ensuring that your vehicle’s tires and brakes are in full working order, you will decrease the risks associated driving in inclement weather, as you will have better control over your vehicle.
- Drive more slowly than normal – given the decreased friction on roads during/following periods of rain, it is better to be safe than sorry. Drive at a speed with which you feel comfortable with, given your vehicle’s condition and your ability to drive.
- Always drive with your lights on – this not only helps you see better in periods of low visibility, but it also helps other drivers see your vehicle.