Inclement Weather Safety

Traffic accidents increase during bad weather. Following the inclement weather safety tips below can reduce traffic-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways. These traffic safety graphics and safe driving tips can be shared with your organization and community.

inclement weather safety
inclement weather safety

Today’s Forecast Calls for a Safe Drive

Sometimes we have the privilege of preparedness; other times Mother Nature mounts a sneak attack and we encounter a bad storm. Remember the saying “Expect the unexpected?” Knowing how to handle your vehicle in dangerous weather will prevent panic when you are forced into driving in a storm. Become weather-wise by following these simple guidelines:

  • Turn on your lights. Keep windshield wipers on and make sure they are in good working condition.
  • Slow down, but keep moving. Don’t stop unless you can get completely off the road.
  • Minimize lane changing.
  • Stay further behind the car in front of you.
  • Be careful of large puddles, they can make your brakes less effective.
  • On wet roads, apply brakes smoothly and evenly to avoid hydroplaning. If you do lose control, take your foot off the gas and do not apply the brakes suddenly.
  • Never drive through flood water more than six inches deep. If you encounter a flooded area, turn around. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

Northeast Florida experiences many challenging weather conditions that make it a hazard while driving. Thunderstorms and heavy fog are frequent occurrences. Hurricanes are also a significant concern. High winds, wet roads, and low visibility increase the crash risk. Plan ahead and be prepared for predicted storms and hurricanes. Please drive safe and stay off the road during inclement weather unless it’s an emergency.

Links to Safe Travel Information

Traffic Safety School Days

There are several traffic safety school days and weeks throughout the year. Walk to School Day is coming up this October 5th. And National School Bus Safety Week is October 17-21, 2022. This is a great time to promote traffic safety with the kiddos.

Free Content for Traffic Safety School Days and Events

These special awareness events are an opportunity for community outreach and education. Learning good traffic safety behaviors at a young age can lead to safer, more competent road users. The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program has excellent resources for everyone to share… schools, teachers, parents, daycare centers, community groups, etc.

National Walk to School Day Resources

Please share these safe walking tips with children in your local community. Below are a video, a color sheet, and two activity pages. These are perfect for showing before and on National Walk to School Day.

Video: Walk to School Safely
Traffic Safety School Days
Printable Coloring Sheet: Walk Safe to School PDF
Walking Rules Activity Page: Tips for Preteen Pedestrians
Activity Sheet for Elementary Age Children: Walk Safe!

National School Bus Safety Week Resources

Available materials for National School Bus Safety Week include a video, a color sheet, and two activity pages. Please share these school bus safety tips for children.

Video: Bus to School Safely
Printable Coloring Sheet: School Bus Stop Safety Rules PDF
Bus+ATV Safe Activity Page: Tips for Preteens
Activity Sheet for Elementary Age Children: Bus Safe!

Walking and School Bus Safety Rules for Children and Drivers

Two of our safety bookmarks distributed to community public libraries in Northeast Florida include school bus and walking safety education. The graphics below can be printed and handed out as a flyer. You could also fold it in half and use it as a bookmark! One half has a crossword puzzle to keep kids engaged while learning (or refreshing) up on safety rules. The other half has safe driving reminders for motorists. These would be great pieces for kids to do at school and take home to share with their parents and caregivers.

traffic safety school days
traffic safety school days

Additional Traffic Safety Pedestrian and School Bus Information

Find even more resources on these pages listed below. Check out “Safety Town” – traffic safety for children at home, school, and around the neighborhood. We made our activity books easy to download and print as activity sheets on our “Safety for Kids.” Our “National School Bus Safety Week” blog post and “School Bus Safety” page have safety reminders for drivers and students.

Defensive Driving Tools for Safety

Defensive Driving Tools for Safety was written and presented by Jeff Hohlstein, a Community Traffic Safety Team member in Clay County, Florida. This educational driving and traffic safety video is geared towards aging road users. However, these are essential tips and reminders for all drivers.

Watch the Defensive Driving Video Presentation:

Learn about setting side view mirrors for blind spots. Understand the importance of keeping a safe following distance and obeying the speed limit. The “three-second rule” is a good idea for all drivers to keep in mind. While this rule is flexible and isn’t always appropriate in every driving situation, it can foster good driving habits that reduce the risk of rear-end collisions and similar accidents.

Gain an understanding of observing a vehicle’s front wheels, approaching intersections safely, and scanning through a signalized intersection. Learn how to use the OODA Loop while driving. OODA is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. When you do it again and again, it becomes a constant decision loop. Retired Colonel John Boyd, USAF, developed this rapid decision-making tool. Today, OODA is used by many Armed Forces and Police agencies and can be used as a defensive driving tool for motorists.

Flip through the Defensive Driving Tools for Safety Presentation:

Most people set their side view mirrors straight back and miss their blind spot completely. The video covers how to set your side view mirrors to cover your blind spot.

This video discusses how to use OODA to stay safe while driving. Defensive driving is much about managing space around your vehicle. The most controllable area you have is your safe following distance. OODA will help you do that right. OODA will also help you develop scan patterns for navigating intersections and avoiding a collision when someone unsafely enters your right-of-way.  

Uses of OODA in defensive driving:

  • Observe > Following distance, traffic patterns; intersections of all kinds; vehicles around you.
  • Orient > Calculate the following distance; identify other potential conflicts.
  • Decide > Action to maintain safe following distance; plan to avoid those other conflicts.
  • Act > Establish/reestablish safe following distance; avoid those other conflicts whether or not the crash would have been your fault.
  • Do it again > Practice OODA until it’s as natural as driving itself.
Jeff Hohlstein presenting Defensive Driving Tools for Safety

Click here to read Jeff Hohlstein’s first article, Three Defensive Driving Tools to Avoid Great Impact, and what the video presentation from 2020.

Six-Year Crash Fact Report

This FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program’s Six-Year Crash Fact Report provides data for all 18 counties.

The 6-year crash facts covers districtwide numbers, county numbers, population growth, and the emphasis areas of Florida’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan. These include roadway crash facts, user behavior crash facts, and road user crash facts.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program mission is to reduce traffic-related fatalities and injuries. This is also the goal of Target Zero – because every life counts, and even one fatality is too many.

The #1 objective of the Community Traffic Safety Program is to reduce the number and severity of crashes. We work at identifying, developing, implementing, and evaluating safety and traffic strategies.

These strategies include planning, design, construction, maintenance, education, and community outreach. We offer traffic safety engineering expertise to the public, and with the help and assistance of our partners, we serve as transportation safety champions.

The six-year historical report is a fundamental evaluation tool as we work toward zero deaths and severe injuries on our Florida roadways.

Take a moment to flip through District Two’s Six-Year Crash Fact Report

4 E’s and More in Traffic Safety

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program in FDOT District Two has long since integrated and promoted the 4 E’s. Our local Community Traffic Safety Teams (CTSTs) were founded on the four core values of road safety: enforcement, emergency service, engineering, and education.

It’s time to reevaluate the 4 E’s and more in traffic safety

The 4 E’s remain fundamental in traffic safety. However, as we work towards our goal of Target Zero, perhaps it is time to expand the list. Bringing new partners to the table can create better insight and opportunities to reduce the number and severity of crashes. This will result in fewer fatalities and serious injuries.

Evaluation is sometimes mentioned as the fifth E. Evaluating our roadway safety programs and crash facts has always been a critical function.

Innovation and technology play a big part in traffic safety today and in the future. Embedded technology could officially be added to the list as a vital part of road safety for six E’s. It continues to expand and grow with improved vehicle systems. Some embedded technology safety features include:

  • adaptive cruise control
  • airbag
  • telematics
  • traction control
  • in-vehicle entertainment
  • emission control system
  • parking system
  • navigation systems
  • collision sensors
  • climate control
  • radio
  • anti-lock braking systems

Evaluation and Embedded Technology brings it up to 6 E’s

Over the years, new players have been invited to the table. We need to do things differently to change the number and severity of crashes. Innovation and technology have helped us get where we are. Therefore, embedded technology needs to be included to continue learning and adapting.

Traffic safety partners are vital for every CTST. We must enlist, engage, encourage, and have equity to be effective. In summary, “it takes a village” to tackle and change driver behavior on our highways. We need to engage ALL players. This graphic illustrates our adaptation of the four original E’s of road safety and expands with the new E’s to enhance and complete the process.

4 E’s and More in Traffic Safety

10 E’s in Traffic Safety:

  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Enforcement
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Evaluation
  • Embedded Technology
  • Engage
  • Enlist
  • Encourage
  • Equity

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Teams are locally based groups of highway safety advocates committed to solving traffic safety problems through a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional, multidisciplinary approach. Our teams comprise members from the four “E” disciplines of highway safety—Engineering, Education, Enforcement, and Emergency Medical Services. Members also include City, County, and State representatives, private industry, and citizens. The common goal of each team is to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes within their community.

Engage, Enlist, Encourage, and Equity are four more E’s to consider

Community Traffic Safety Team members are a vital part of the program. They work together to help solve local traffic safety problems related to drivers, vehicles, and roadways. Four additional E’s have been brought to the table that could assist these members, partners, and agencies. The new categories include Engage Your Audience,  Enlist Your People, Encourage Your Team, and Equity Sharing Opportunities.

In addition, it has been asked, “Should we expand safety strategies to include the 4 I’s?” These related topics benefit the Community Traffic Safety Program and improve the traffic safety culture. The 4 I’s include:

  • Information Intelligence
  • Innovation
  • Insight into Communities
  • Investment & Policies

In conclusion, the 4 E’s remain a core traffic safety function. However, there is room to grow. Adding additional strategies and insight can help work towards ZERO fatalities on our roadways.