Use Extreme caution when driving in heavy rains

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2018

With recent heavy rains occurring throughout Decatur County and Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to bring heavy rainfall to the Florida Panhandle, you can never be too safe while driving in these conditions.

Strong winds, heavy downpours and the threat of tornados are expected to create dangerous driving conditions. AAA urges motorists to be cautious and avoid being on the roads during the storm if possible.   

“It’s important that drivers heed official warnings and avoid driving on wet and flooded roads if able,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “If you see rising water, don’t drive through it! Driving through standing water is especially dangerous, because you never know just how deep the water is or what you are driving over.”

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If your vehicle shuts down while in standing water, do not try to restart it. Restarting a vehicle in standing water can cause more water to enter the engine and could cost thousands of dollars to repair.

AAA offers the following safety tips:

Check traffic and weather conditions before heading out.

Pack an emergency kit in your vehicle including a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, drinking water, mobile phone and car charger, extra snacks/food for your travelers and any pets, battery booster cables, and emergency flares or reflectors.

Have a full tank of gas.

Always wear your seat belt.

Rainy conditions can cause low visibility: Turn on your headlights to help you see better and to allow other motorists to spot you better. Avoid using your high beams because you could blind other drivers and the extra light will reflect off the rain, causing more of a distraction for you.

If you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance while driving during wet weather, pull off the road as far as you can and wait for the rain to ease up. Make sure to turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers.

Avoid standing water and flooded roads at all times. There is no way to tell how deep standing water is on a flooded road and driving through it can cause a vehicle to stall and result in severe damage to the vehicle from:

Flooding the engine

Warping brake rotors

Loss of power steering

Short in electrical components

If your vehicle stalls in a flooded area, do not remain in the car. Abandon it as soon as possible and seek higher ground. Flood waters can elevate quickly, sweeping away the vehicle and its occupants.

Road closures also apply to our tow truck drivers as safety is the key for everyone.

Drive distraction free. Do not text or engage in distracting activities while driving, including interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle.

Comply with the Move Over Law. Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.

Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.

If you find yourself in an unsafe situation, please contact law enforcement.

Traffic Signal Blackout: If traffic signal lights are not working due to power failure, you must stop at the intersection and then proceed when you know other turning and approaching vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians have stopped. A blacked-out traffic signal works the same as a four-way stop intersection.