With the recent rains and street flooding that is affecting the Tampa Bay region, here are some safety reminders for when you are out and about in this weather:
1. Most importantly, if you do not have to be somewhere, stay where you are. However, if evacuation orders due to flooding are issued, please comply with the instructions of local authorities in your area.
2. If you have to be out and about, please be careful out there. If you encounter any flooded street, do not attempt to drive through it – the water depth is unknown and you can stall out in flood waters. Instead, turn around and find an alternate route. Just ask motorists who try to traverse Dale Mabry Highway at Henderson Blvd. in Tampa during heavy rains!
3. When you are out there on Interstate 275 or any other highway in the Tampa Bay region, if you encounter any rain it’s low beam headlights and wipers time, not emergency flashers time. First, Florida law requires your low beam headlights on when it is raining. Second, hazard emergency flashers especially when you are moving is not only dangerous (someone can rear end you not knowing that you are slowed down), it is illegal by Florida law as well.
4. If it gets to the point that you cannot see ahead of you, simply pull into a public place such as a gas station or a convenience store and wait it out until the rain slows down.
5. Give driving your 100 percent attention, especially during adverse weather. That important phone call or text message can wait until you have safely arrived at your destination.
6. If your travel plans include the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, be aware that the Florida Highway Patrol can close the bridge in the event winds on the top of the main span exceed 40 mph. A check of the variable message signage on Interstate 275 as you approach the Sunshine Skyway or with Florida 511 is highly recommended.
Just follow these recommendations for when you go out and about in adverse weather including the adverse weather that is impacting the Tampa Bay region and you’re good to go!