Not all cold fronts bring violent weather, some do however. Often indications of heavy weather are fairly obvious from weather records such as the example from March 2005 that appears below. Sometimes you can time your session to AVOID the squall line at the leading edge of some fronts. This particular front had more than one however.
The color radar showed several squall lines of potentially violent weather.
Venice Beach, FL
This station on the west coast of Florida had already been hit with strong squall gusts. Note the 90 degree direction change typical of frontal winds and the irratic direction changes common in squall gusts.
Key Biscayne, FL
That isn't a blow torch flame roasting Florida but in fact a color enhanced satellite image of a "weak" cold front.
The weather map showed a frontal boundary sweeping across the southeast with SEVERE thunderstorms possible.
One of the squall bands off to the east, over the ocean at about 5 pm. All that blue sky and that big nasty band on weather clear as day.
The squall line at the leading edge of the front strikes SW Florida near Marco Island and the wind spikes up to at least 40 mph, possibly more. Note the classic 90 degree direction change in the wind.
Enhanced color radar and satellite imagery from around 3 pm with the SW coast getting struck by the squall line.
More imagery from TWO hours later at 5 pm.