When Afternoon Storms Strike: How to Drive in the Rain

You clock out at five and head for the door, ready to brave rush hour traffic and head home. But as soon as you step outside the safety of your office . . . bang! Lighting splits across the sky, thunder rumbles, and the rain starts pouring down. If you live in Tampa Bay, this isn’t just an imagined scenario. It’s something you’ve had to deal with at least once a week!

In the past few weeks, the Tampa Bay area has seen more than its fair share of thunderstorms. Some of the rain can be blamed on increased tropical activity in the Atlantic Ocean, where storms are finally starting to develop after a relatively peaceful hurricane season.

Another reason for the storms is Florida’s year-round warm weather. Thunderstorms are the result of warm, rapidly rising air. This means that Florida’s subtropical climate makes it the ideal place for a thunderstorm to develop. In fact, areas in the middle of Florida experience nearly 100 days with thunderstorms every year, while the coastal areas get around 80 to 90 thunderstorms each year. Throughout the United States, there are about 25 million lighting strikes, a frequent result of thunderstorms, every year, and 1.4 million of those are see in Florida. Florida might be the Sunshine State, but its balmy weather means that it’s a thunderstorm state, too.

Whatever the cause, these afternoon downpours can be annoying—and dangerous. Storms slow down traffic and seem to bring out the worst in other drivers. They also lead to roadway hazards like:

  • Low visibility
  • Low traction
  • Puddles
  • Flash floods
  • Wind
  • Debris
  • Other drivers, who may be driving dangerously

When the weather is rainy, it’s best to stay inside and wait it out. The good thing about Florida’s storms is that they usually pass very quickly, which means that even a few extra minutes can make a big difference.

If you absolutely must drive while it’s raining, keep these tips in mind to avoid an accident:

  • Turn on your headlights
  • Leave extra space between your vehicle and the car in front of you, as it may take longer to stop on wet roads
  • Reduce your speed
  • Turn on your windshield wipers
  • Avoid distractions, like a text or loud music, so you can focus on the road
  • Remember that even if you are being a responsible driver, others might not be, so stay alert

When a thunderstorm is the only thing standing between you and the end of your work day, it’s tempting to just get in your car and brave the storm. But before you get behind the wheel, make sure you are prepared to drive in the rain—you think Floridians would be used to it, but it’s shocking how wild the roads can get with even a little rain!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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