First 15 minutes after it rains is most dangerous for drivers

Tips for driving in inclement weather

First 15 minutes after it rains is most dangerous for drivers
Tips for driving safely in inclement weather (Source: Taylor Torregano)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Most have heard the phrase, “turn around, don’t drown,” but law enforcement says there are other things for drivers to keep in mind when traveling in the inclement weather, too.

There are many flooded areas around town right now and troopers said if drivers can avoid driving through them, they should.

In addition to not knowing how deep those flooded areas are, another risk is not being able to see if there’s broken glass or car parts from an accident or a deep pothole underneath the water.

Driving too quickly through a flooded area could also cause the water to get into the engine, which is a very costly repair.

Whenever it storms, the owner of Suncoast Customs said he sees a significant increase in the number of people who come in for new tires after hydroplaning.

“It’s very easy to hydroplane if you don’t have a lot of tread,” Steve Precht said.

There are easy ways to make sure tires are in good shape.

“If you look across the tread, you’ll see at the very bottom, there’s a wear indicator," Precht showed. "So when your tread isn’t within 1 to 2/32nd of an inch, of that tread, you need to replace your tires.”

A quick way to check is the penny test. Simply insert a penny into the tire’s tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of people not understanding that when a little bit of rain hits the roadway, it brings all of the oils up within the roadway, making it much more dangerous to drive," explained Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Kenn Watson.

In fact, troopers said the first 15 minutes of light rain is the most dangerous time to be driving because oils make the road exceedingly slippery.

“As you can see, all of these represent a traffic crash and there’s so many at this point in time, because of the rain that we have," Trooper Watson showed. "So I would say that 90 percent of these most likely have something to do with the slippery roadways that we’re seeing on the interstates right now.”

Heavy rains cause for tough driving conditions, so law enforcement says it’s especially important that you keep both hands on the wheel, don’t drive with any distractions and slow down, even if that means driving under the posted speed limit on the Interstates.

“Hazards off and make sure those windshield wipers are functional and headlights on at all times, whenever you turn those windshield wipers on," Trooper Watson said.

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