The benefits of living in South Florida far outweigh the negatives. The combination of tropical weather, beautiful scenery and overall quality of life make Florida the ideal place of residence for many people. However, the many perks of living in Florida also bring unique driving conditions that residents should be aware of.
At Gordon & Doner, we are committed to the safety of all those who live in Palm Beach, Broward and Martin Counties. With these tips for driving in Florida, we hope to help motorists avoid serious auto accident s.
If you are involved in a Florida car accident, simply complete the form to the right to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced auto injury attorneys .
Driving in Florida Weather
One of South Florida’s primary attractions is the tropical weather. This means that during the winter, we experience some of the most beautiful weather in the country, rarely dipping below 60 degrees. However, the price South Floridians pay for this weather is a rainy season unlike most others in the continental United States. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the average annual rainfall in Palm Beach County is 61.7 inches.
Driving in heavy rainfall and standing water following a torrential downpour presents unique issues and road conditions for Florida motorists. By following these tips, you are less likely to be involved in an auto accident caused by Florida weather:
- Drive slower. It takes longer to stop on wet roads.
- Don’t use cruise control; if your car does hydroplane, your vehicle could accelerate.
- Drive in the middle lanes if possible. Water tends to collect in the outside lanes, increasing your chances of hydroplaning.
- If your vehicle does begin to hydroplane, release the gas pedal slowly and keep the car as straight as possible until your tires regain traction. If you absolutely have to brake, just tap the brake pedal.
- Increase your following distance.
- Don’t follow larger vehicles, such as trucks and buses, too closely. The spray coming off these vehicles can reduce your vision.
- Avoid using your brakes, if possible. Take your foot off the accelerator to slow down.
- If you are using your windshield wipers, turn on your lights. This not only helps with your vision, but it allows other drivers sharing the road to spot your car.
- Defog your windows. Make sure your air conditioning is turned on, as well as the front and rear defrosters.
- Never drive through moving water if you are unable to see through it.
- Look out for pedestrians.
- Especially at night, keep an eye out for motorcyclists. They can often become camouflaged amidst raindrops on windows and mirrors.
One of the unique aspects of living in Florida is the diversity of people in the area. The age of Florida drivers covers a wide range, from teen drivers to elderly drivers. Both demographics present their own dangers to other motorists on the road.
Over the next 20 years, the number of elderly drivers (ages 70 years and older) is predicted to triple across the country. Statistics show that older drivers are more likely than younger drivers to be involved in multi-car pileups, especially at intersections. There are three behavioral factors that may contribute to this statistic:
- Poor judgment in making left-hand turns
- Decreased ability to change behavior in response to an unexpected situation
If your loved one is an elderly driver, it is important to have a discussion with them about their driving behavior and how it could potential affect others on the road. This can be a tough conversation to have; however, you may be able to prevent a future collision from occurring.
The inexperience of teen drivers presents a wealth of concerns. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds. Per mile, teen drivers are involved in more wrecks than any other age group.
It is important for parents to help teenage drivers stay safe on the roadways by setting driving standards for their children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests the following rules for teen drivers:
- Seat belts must be worn any time the car is in motion by all passengers in the vehicle.
- Cell phone use should not be allowed, including talking and texting while driving.
- Aside from it being against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol, the teen driver is not allowed to drink while driving.
- Limit how many passengers are allowed in the car at any given time.
- Set a curfew for when your teen must have the car home.
Driving in Construction Zones
South Florida is constantly undergoing tremendous change and growth. Between 2010 to 2011, according to the United States Census Bureau, the population in Palm Beach County increased by over 15,000 people. Due to the continuous growth, there are always construction projects across Palm Beach, Martin and Broward Counties.
When driving through a construction zone, it is important to exercise extreme caution. Accidents in highway work zones have killed at least 4,700 Americans and injured at least 200,000 others in the last five years alone. Of all work zone fatalities, about 85 percent were motorists. By following these suggestions, you lessen your chances of being involved in a construction zone accident:
- Manage your speed. Slow down when approaching a construction zone and follow posted speed limits. Do not resume normal speed until roadway signs indicate that it is safe to do so.
- Leave adequate room between you and the car in front of you. If you are forced to stop, leave enough room to allow yourself to get out of the lane if necessary.
- Pay attention. Avoid cell phone use and other distractions that may take your eyes away from the road, even for a second.
Mild winters make Florida an ideal spot both for vacationers and for snow birds. As can be expected, with more people in the area, the roads become more congested. Driving on busy roads with motorists who may not be familiar with the area can be a lethal combination. When travelling on a busy roadway, it is important to:
- Remain calm and move with the flow of traffic.
- Be aware of pedestrians, including those who are on the sidewalk. You never know when someone may attempt to cross the street illegally. If there are a lot of pedestrians in the area, it might not be a bad idea to ride with the windows down so you are aware of your surroundings.
- Always keep a foot ready to hit the brake.
Contact a Florida Auto Accident Lawyer
No one ever plans to be involved in a car crash. Unfortunately, a serious auto accident only takes seconds to occur but the effects can last a lifetime. If you find yourself involved in a car accident that was caused by the actions or negligence of another, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses related to the wreck by filing an auto accident lawsuit.
For more information on how a Florida auto accident attorney at Gordon & Doner may be able to help you with your claim, complete the Free Case Evaluation form to the right to schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.