What You Need to Know About Headlights and Hazard Lights

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After so much time without any decent rainfall in Southwest Florida, people are now experiencing driving in rain and on wet roads for the first time in a long while. Unfortunately, too many drivers either don’t know what the law says about how to do it more safely – or they just don’t care.

As personal injury attorneys in Fort Myers, we work with folks everyday who have been involved in some sort of car or motorcycle crash. When the summer weather hits, we see law enforcement accident reports that detail how these accidents happened. In many cases, a quick glance at the section marked ‘weather conditions’ can often lead to some presumptions on the part of our attorneys doing the initial case discovery.

If the investigating officer notes on the report that it was raining and/or the road was wet, we immediately look into the circumstances of the crash with that in mind. In other words, was the weather in any way a factor in the crash. If so, was it on the part of the alleged at-fault driver? Perhaps they were driving too fast for the wet road and rainy conditions. That’s the type of thing that can lead to proving liability for a crash.

Car accidents in Southwest Florida do increase during the rainy summer months. The slick roads make it much more difficult to stop or slow down for traffic ahead of you, and we all know how drivers around here just can’t seem to drive safely – they’re busy speeding, driving aggressively or being distracted while behind the wheel – sometimes, all three.

We also see a lot of people who don’t have their headlights on in the rain. Yes, this is against the law, and yes, you CAN get a ticket for it:

Florida Statute §316.217(1)(b) states: “Every vehicle operated upon a highway within this state shall display lighted lamps and illuminating devices . . . under the following conditions: . . . During any rain, smoke or fog . . .”

We also see so many drivers who think that by turning on your car’s flashing hazard lights, they’re alerting others around them that they may be travelling slow because of the rain, and think the flashing lights make them more visible.

Wrong.

Florida Statute §316.2397(7)(a) states: “Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except . . . to indicate that the vehicle is lawfully stopped or disabled upon the highway. . .”

That’s also a traffic infraction that can get you a citation. Let’s be candid here – if the weather is so bad that you think you need your hazard lights flashing in order to be seen, just pull off the road.

The summer storms in Florida seldom last too long. If you’re on the road and don’t feel like you can see enough in front or around you to safely keep driving, don’t. Find the nearest SAFE exit from the interstate, or parking lot or some place off of a local, smaller road, to just park and wait it out. It’s smarter to allow yourself more time to get where you’re going than it is risk being seriously hurt in a crash.

Personal injury lawyer Michael Noone with Goldberg Noone, LLC, points out that summer driving conditions can add many variables when it comes to getting to your destination safely. “If you’ve got wet roads, heavy downpours and people making bad driving decisions, it all adds up to an increasing your risk for being involved in a crash”, he says. “Wet roads aren’t only dangerous because of the rain, but because the water brings all the oils in the road’s surface to the top, tailgating drivers have no idea how their car can start sliding by just lightly applying the brakes”.

So as we head into the rainy season here in Southwest Florida, please remember to use your headlights when it’s raining out, and DON’T use your emergency flashers unless your car is actually disabled and off the roadway.

Goldberg Noone, LLC, helps people who have been the victim of a negligent or careless act caused by someone else. Seriously injured crash victims or the families of those killed by a negligent driver never have to pay any up-front moneys to hire our skilled car accident lawyers. We are always available for free, no obligation consultations to discuss your personal situation at no charge, even if you just want to get answers to your questions. Call our main office at 239-461-5508 or complete this simple form to speak to an attorney right away.