JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Driving can be dangerous even in the best conditions, much less if there’s bad weather or distracted drivers on the road.
As data provided by the Florida Highway Patrol show, troopers have worked nearly 20,000 traffic crashes in Northeast Florida since January 2019, with over 2,900 of them happening during rainy weather.
Troopers gave News4Jax a rare behind-the-scenes look at their work Friday to show us the kind of hazards that some drivers overlook, including not slowing down in the rain.
FHP Master Sgt. Dylan Bryan said drivers make simple mistakes behind the wheel.
“When there is rain or high wind, we do see an increase in traffic crashes on the roadways,” Bryan said. “And we will put more troopers on the road for that time frame.”
The moment it starts to rain, troopers adjust their workflow to account for the hazards.
“The troopers will now start to go into a reactive phase where we get those increased calls for service — traffic crashes, disabled vehicles,” the sergeant told News4Jax.
Our cameras were rolling as drivers sped past troopers in spite of Friday’s showers.
“We are currently driving at 62 miles per hour in a posted (65-mph zone), and traffic is constantly going by us,” Bryan said at one point during our ride along.
Bryan said drivers who ignore bad weather and other hazards are taking their safety into their own hands and throwing it out the window.
According to FHP figures, troopers have worked 19,575 crashes on Northeast Florida roadways since January 2019. Of those, 7,357 were weather-related. The remaining 12,218 happened on clear days.
Another common mistake drivers make? Driving near semi-trucks in their blind spots.
“The easiest way to deter that is if you can’t see the driver in his mirror yourself, he can’t see you,” the sergeant told News4Jax.
Bryan said being directly in front of or behind a semi-truck can put drivers in danger, too.
He said drivers still need to be prepared when the rain dies down. Since most traffic crashes happen on clear days, it’s a reminder that driving isn’t something to take lightly.
Another potential hazard is low tread on your tires. So inspect your tires before you hit the road — it could end up saving your life, or someone else’s.