If you've been in a car accident in Florida, you're not alone. With the influx of tourists visiting the Sunshine State each year, especially in the summer and winter for schooltime breaks, the roads can become increasingly dangerous for both locals and visitors alike. The more drivers on the road, the higher the risk of accidents occurring. In this blog, we'll explore how high tourist traffic in Florida can make the state's roads unsafe and what you can do to stay safe while driving.
Tourist Boom in Florida
More than 100 million tourists visit Florida each year on average. This average dipped at the start of the pandemic but has rapidly increased again. Other than California, Florida has the most tourists per year in the country.
Popular tourist attractions in Florida include:
- Walt Disney World
- Universal Studios
- Kennedy Space Center
- Everglades National Park
- Daytona Speedway
- Any of the state’s gorgeous beaches
The population of Florida is close to 22 million people, which is about one-fifth of the number of tourists who come to the state each year. At any given time you are in traffic in Florida, there is a high chance that at least one person on the road near you doesn’t live in the state. It might even be you!
How Tourists Can Cause Unsafe Road Conditions in Florida
Tourists can contribute to unsafe road conditions in several ways, including:
- Lack of familiarity with the area and traffic rules: Tourists may not be familiar with Florida's unique traffic laws, signage, or road conditions. This could lead to confusion and mistakes while driving.
- Distracted driving: Tourists may be more likely to take their eyes off the road to look at maps, GPS devices, or other navigational aids. Additionally, passengers in the car may distract drivers by pointing out landmarks or taking photos.
- Aggressive driving: Tourists who are under time constraints or anxious to see everything on their itinerary may drive more aggressively than locals. This can include tailgating, speeding, and making sudden lane changes.
- Rental car issues: Many tourists rent cars while visiting Florida. These vehicles may be unfamiliar to drivers and have different handling characteristics than what they are used to. Additionally, rental cars may not be properly maintained or checked for safety issues before being rented out.
Safety Tips for Driving in Florida During Tourist Season
To help prevent car accidents on the roads and highways of Florida during tourist season, every driver needs to accept that they have a responsibility to drive safely and defensively. You can’t rely just on other people to do the right, safe thing behind the wheel. You need to do that, too.
Important safety tips for tourist season driving in Florida are:
- Plan your route ahead of time: Before setting out on a trip, plan your route and familiarize yourself with the traffic laws and road conditions along the way. This will help you avoid getting lost or making sudden turns that could put you in danger.
- Stay alert and focused: Always keep your eyes on the road and refrain from distractions such as using your phone or eating while driving. If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over to a safe location first.
- Drive defensively: Be aware of other drivers around you and anticipate their actions. Allow plenty of space between vehicles, signal early when changing lanes, and always use caution when merging onto highways.
- Adjust your speed for the conditions: In Florida, weather conditions can change rapidly, especially during hurricane season, which overlaps with part of the busy tourist season in some areas. Be prepared for sudden rainstorms or high winds by slowing down and leaving extra space between vehicles. Additionally, pay attention to posted speed limits and adjust your speed accordingly based on traffic flow.
As we wrap up our discussion about safe driving in Florida during tourist season, it's important to remember that each of us has a role to play in keeping our roads safe. Whether you're a local or a visitor, taking the time to plan ahead, stay alert, drive defensively, and adjust your speed for the conditions can go a long way toward preventing accidents and ensuring a pleasant experience on the road. Remember: we care about you as both a friend and a member of our community, so please take these tips to heart and drive safely!
If you’re ever in an accident with a tourist or while as a tourist to Florida yourself, you can rely on The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A. for legal counsel and support. Dial (855) 933-3881 to speak with an auto accident lawyer who cares about your recovery.