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Hurricane Florence: The Real Story

HURRICANE FLORENCE: THE REAL STORY

Florence has rapidly strengthened into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane and is closing in on North and South Carolina, carrying winds and water that could wreak havoc over a wide stretch of the Eastern United States this week. It could carry torrential rains up into the Appalachian mountains, causing flash floods, mudslides and other dangerous weather across a wide area. It is expected to approach the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday/Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center. As of Wednesday morning, Florence was turning slightly southward toward South Carolina, meaning that Georgia could get more of an impact from the storm than previously forecast.

What exactly does this mean for Georgia and the metro Atlanta area in particular? Rain, a lot of it, some of it heavy at times and causing flash flooding or worse. Even though current models predict the worst of Florence impacting the Carolinas and proceeding toward the northern parts of the Eastern seaboard, southern coastal and inland areas will still experience significant effects. If winds remain strong with the rain, power outages will likely add to the chaos.

WET WEATHER DRIVING

As of 2017, one million motor vehicle accidents a year are caused by wet pavement, resulting in approximately 4,500 deaths. Of those one million wet pavement accidents, app. 573,785 of them are due to rain—not snow or ice, but simply rain. The slightly more than half a million accidents caused by rain result in app. 2,700 deaths a year. Put another way, most weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement (73%), and when it rains (46%), according to National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration data.

SAFE-DRIVING TIPS

Because driving on wet pavement is unfortunately common, it is important to remember some tips about how to drive safely:

Slowing down during wet weather driving can be critical to reducing a car’s chance of hydroplaning, which occurs when tires rise up on a film of water. With as little as 1/12 inch of water on the road, tires have to displace a gallon of water per second to keep the rubber meeting the road. Drivers should reduce their speed to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. At speeds as low as 35 mph, new tires can still lose some contact with the roadway.

Tips for how to drive through standing water

The water is shallowest at the center of the road. Drive down the center.

Take turns with other cars, creating a single lane instead of splashing water onto passing vehicles.

Only 15cm (a little over one-half inch) of water at any speed can cause you to lose control—badly.

Never try and cross water that rises above the center of your wheels (lowered cars, lower). That includes puddles.

Drive SLOWLY. Enter at 1-2mph. Drive at 3-4mph to avoid engine flooding.

Drive in low gear to protect the car. If in an automatic, keep the speed low enough to stay in first or second gear. Keep your foot on the gas, but use the brake to regulate speed.

Dry your brakes after moving through water by braking lightly while driving very slowly.

WHEN IN AN ACCIDENT

Sometimes no amount of best driving practices can prevent an accident. When a motor vehicle crash occurs, follow these steps:

1. Call 911 to report the accident to the police and to ensure that all injured parties receive any medical attention needed;

2. Report all of your own injuries to the police and first responders;

3. Take pictures of the accident scene if you can do so safely; pictures of the scene at the time of the accident are always preferred to any re-creation of the accident;

4. Contact an experienced accident attorney.

CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free evaluation of your legal rights.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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