South Florida Traffic Accidents a Risk in Fog or Smoke

The Florida Highway Patrol is absolving itself of blame in connection with a chain-reaction crash on I-75 that led to 11 deaths. The patrol blames unpredictable weather and motorist failures and said the tragedy is unlikely to lead to any substantial planning or policy changes.

Many believe the Jan. 29 crash near Gainesville could have been avoided had the patrol not re-opened the road. A report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement even found the patrol erred in failing to consult weather forecasts or monitor road conditions after reopening the road. FDLE also noted a lack of signage warning motorists.

Huff Post Miami said FHP representatives refused to elaborate on the report defending the agency’s actions.

West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers understand a case is always complicated when a state or government agency is involved. Often a circle-the-wagons mentality ensues. And government entities may enjoy government immunity in some cases. However, it certainly comes as no surprise that the FHP is holding itself blameless. An independent investigation may well come to a different conclusion — just as the separate governmental investigation by FDLE has in this case.

The Weather Channel offers a number of safety tips for driving in reduced visibility, which can include rain, darkness, snow, fog, smoke or bright sunshine.

-Moderate your speed. Drive slow enough to maintain safe stopping conditions.

-Don’t slow down so much that you become a risk to other drivers.

-Be aware of the risks of following taillights in front of you through low visibility conditions.

-If you pull off the road, be sure to pull far enough to avoid becoming a road hazard. Turn on your hazard lights.

In this instance, the patrol blames motorists for driving too fast for conditions. The truth of the matter is that driving too fast for road conditions is responsible for a majority of weather-related accidents.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers the following safety tips for driving in smoke.

-Plan ahead and monitor the weather.

-Slow down and use low beam headlights in low visibility conditions.

-Signal well in advance.

-Keep your windshield clean.

-Be Patient.

-Wear your seat belt.