Aftermath of Irma: How Hurricanes Affect Our Roadways
This week, Florida was hit by one of the biggest hurricanes in history, and no one in the Sunshine State was left untouched by Irma’s wrath. Here in the Tampa Bay area, and in our Lakeland community, we were hit hard by heavy rains, severe wind, and in many places, flooding. While we didn’t get the amount of destruction and devastation our southern neighbors are left with, we still have a significant cleanup and rebuilding process ahead of us. While we are pondering Hurricane Irma though, we have noticed a few things about how she affected our roadways that are worth mentioning, and should be noted if, and when, you have to prepare for future storms:
- Traffic will be heavy before and after. Evacuations sent people from the tip of Florida to the northernmost regions heading north with Hurricane Irma on their heels, and in the days leading up to the storm, I-75 and I-95, along with all corresponding highways (like I-4), were congested or at a complete standstill. This is expected here in Florida, but it’s also important to remember that all those people have to come home, and they’ll be returning south along with utility trucks, military personnel, etc. who are seeking to offer relief to our area. That means traffic this week will be equally as heavy, if not more, than in the days leading up to the hurricane. Stay off the roads if possible to avoid becoming part of what is sure to be a mix of traffic jams, fender benders, and chaos.
- Flooding doesn’t only happen near the coast. Central Florida, especially Polk County, suffered a hard punch from the storm, and flooding has taken over multiple roadways in and around the Lakeland area. Be on guard when you see standing water, and if it’s enough to cover the roadway, do NOT drive through it. It’s safer to go another way than risk getting your vehicle, and yourself, in trouble.
- Make way for those trying to help. We understand that you want to see the damage done to your area, and are eager to get back to life as usual, but the reality is that Florida was dealt a heavy blow and it’s going to take time to rebuild from that. A vital part of that rebuilding process are the utility companies and other relief agencies coming to help us in our time of need, but they can’t do their jobs efficiently if they are battling drivers to get to their destination. Again, if you don’t have to be on the roads, try to stay home and let them do their job. After all, it’s your power they are trying to restore.
- Accidents are going to happen. Whether it’s from a downed tree limb, or a driver not paying attention while looking at local destruction, you are at a higher risk of an accident behind the wheel during the time surrounding a major storm like Irma. Be extra cautions when you do have to be on the roads, and stay alert to debris on or near the roads, or other motorists who may be driving recklessly.
When accidents do happen, Tampa Bay area residents know that Sessums Law Group is here and ready to help. While we were all expecting Hurricane Irma, you likely weren’t expecting a resulting accident and its consequences. Remember, when the unexpected happens, WE STAND FOR YOU!