Miami and South Florida were lucky to avoid being hit by Tropical Storm Colin. But hurricane season has just begun, and chances are that South Florida will experience some form of extreme weather this year. That’s why it is so important to be prepared for a storm before one hits. 411 PAIN is a Florida based company and has been helping drivers deal with auto accidents, including accidents caused by severe weather, for nearly twenty years. Hurricanes, tropical storms, tropical depressions, and even severe thunderstorms can cause dangerous conditions for Florida drivers. Heavy, driving rain can reduce visibility, while strong winds can knock debris into streets, down power lines, and even cause some high profile vehicles such as trucks and SUVs to tip over. At a minimum, high winds can cause difficulties with steering, even for smaller vehicles. Winds tend to be strongest over areas with few obstacles such as buildings and trees. This is especially true for wind over open stretches of water, and is one reason why bridges might be closed if a storm system is predicted to generate high winds. It is best to avoid going out if possible when high winds are predicted. If you must go out, try and plan your route so as to avoid having to go near areas where high winds might cause bridge closures. Plan alternate routes in case your main route is closed down. And always keep an eye out for downed power lines. These can kill you fro a surprising distance, so stay far away. Heavy rain can overwhelm drainage systems, leading to localized or even regional flooding. The dangers that flooded roads present to drivers are well known. High water levels can damage the electrical systems of many vehicles, as well as damage the braking systems. Flooded roads — or even large puddles — can obscure hidden debris in the road that can damage the wheels or underside of a vehicle. Large puddles and flooded areas can also be deceptive when it comes to depth; many cars have been damaged trying to drive through puddles, only to discover that the water was much deeper than it appeared. Another danger from flooding is that flood waters can undermine road foundations, leading to wash-outs and damaged streets, making them impassible. In cases where the flooding occurred near a river or the ocean, flooding has caused cars to be swept away by a torrent of water, sometimes with people trapped in the vehicles. It is always best to try and avoid going through flooded areas if possible. If you have to drive through a flooded area, try to drive slowly, so you don’t churn up the water any higher than it is already. Again, before you go out, make sure you have alternate routes planned in case your main route is closed off or blocked by impassable water. Drive carefully, and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Many accidents are caused by panicked drivers who drive recklessly because they were worried about getting to their destination late. Remember, if you get into an accident, you’ll reach your destination a lot later than if you had simply stayed calm and driven more carefully. It is the duty of the city to make sure that obstacles such as downed power lines, large puddles, or damaged roads are clearly marked and detours (if necessary) plotted out clearly. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, regardless of whether it was due to any type of severe weather or lack of proper signage and traffic direction following a storm, please call 1-800-411-PAIN today and see how we can help you.