Severe weather presents special driving hazards


300-FHP-LOGO-PATCHAs Tropical Storm Andrea approaches our area, the Florida Highway Patrol would like to remind Historic City News readers about some of the risks of driving in severe weather.

The Troop G staff continues to monitor the storm’s progress and has been arranging our manpower to better accommodate the motoring public and to assist with calls of service.

“If assistance is needed, motorists may contact the Florida Highway Patrol Jacksonville Regional Communications Center at 904-359-6572 or *FHP (*347) on a cellular device,” said Sergeant Dylan L. Bryan.

Preparation: Being prepared is the number one tool that a person can use to remain safe during severe weather or natural disasters. Establish a safety plan early. Having an evacuation route or exit strategy in place, prior to the incident, will assist in keeping your family safe. During severe weather, it is safer to refrain from driving on the roadways unless absolutely necessary.

Inland flooding: Inland flooding is the leading weather-related cause of death in the United States. Inland flooding usually occurs during or after a heavy, slow-moving rain storm. But it also can result from strong coastal storms. Severe inland flooding can occur in areas that are hundreds of miles from the eye of a hurricane. If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. If flooding begins in your area, go to higher ground immediately. When driving, always be aware that the road bed under flood waters may be severely damaged. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. Remember that it takes only two feet of water to carry away a vehicle, including pickups and SUVs. When walking, do not attempt to cross flowing waters. It takes only six inches of rushing water to knock an adult off their feet. If your vehicle stalls, get out immediately and go to higher ground. Be extra cautious at night, when it is harder to see possible flood dangers.

Driving in windy conditions: Windy conditions adversely affect all vehicles. In windy conditions, your best course of action is to slow down. Speed and wind make for a very dangerous driving situation. Strong gusts can blow a car, cyclist or motorcyclist off course. Gusty wind can be one of the trickier driving conditions, especially when it is rapidly changing direction and intensity. Turn on and listen for weather information for the area that you are in or driving to.

Inoperative/Missing traffic lights or signs: Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic control signal, every driver approaching an intersection should come to a complete stop before entering the intersection. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection. If two or more vehicles reach the four-way stop intersection at the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

Report any hazards or potential risks: Immediately report any hazards or potential risks to emergency personnel. Items such as downed power lines, fallen trees, standing water, etc. can be very dangerous to motorists. As a reminder, please be very cautious and patient while driving on the highways.