Most folks tend to think that they are an excellent driver; especially if they have never been involved in an accident, never drink and drive, or have ever received a traffic citation. Unfortunately, dangerous driving habits are all too common in the state of Florida, and it only takes one mistake to cause a deadly accident. Below, our Legal Team details some of Southwest Florida's most reported driving mistakes, and how to best avoid these behaviors.
OVER/UNDER SPEED LIMIT
In the State of Florida, it is possible to be ticketed for driving too slowly as well as for speeding. If you are driving slowly to the point that you are blocking vehicles from safely passing, or if you are creating a general safety risk, you may be stopped by a law enforcement officer and given a ticket.
- The standard Florida speed limit laws in Florida are as follows:
- School Zones Unless Otherwise Posted: 20 MPH
- Residential Areas Unless Otherwise Posted: 30 MPH
- Interstates: 70 MPH
- Four-Lane Divided Highways: 65 MPH
- Other State Highways: 60 MPH
- Always Watch for Local Speed Limit Signs. These values are determined by general state laws. Every county, town, or even road can have specific regulations or restrictions, however, so always be aware of posted local speed limits.
Distracted Driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can significantly increase your likelihood of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. A distraction is anything that can take your attention away from driving. The most seen distractions while driving include texting, utilizing a cell phone, using a navigation system, eating, putting on makeup, etc. Engaging in any of these distracting behaviors significantly increases the likelihood of you, your passengers, and others being involved in an accident.
Recognizing the signs of fatigue in yourself and your fellow drivers is just as important as recognizing the signs of a drunk driver: research has shown that being awake for 18 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent, which is legally intoxicated and leads to an equal risk of causing a crash. Be aware and pay attention to signs of drowsiness in yourself, including frequent yawning, heavy eyes, and blurred vision. Please keep in mind that “alertness tricks” such as smoking, opening a window, playing music, etc. are not real cures for fatigue, and may lull you into a false sense of security; if you are behind the wheel and feel the signs of fatigue taking over, PULL OVER. The life you save may be your own. While on the road, if you witness another motorist exhibiting signs of fatigued driving such as drifting in-and-out of lanes, inconsistent speeds, colliding with curbs, etc., avoidthis driver and contact your local law enforcement immediately.
BAD WEATHER DRIVING
According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are over 5,891,000 vehicle crashes each year. Approximately 21% of these crashes - nearly 1,235,000 - are weather-related. Weather-related crashes are defined as crashes that occur in adverse weather (rain, fog, severe crosswinds, etc.) or on slick pavement. On average, nearly 5,000 people are killed and over 418,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year. When driving and encountering bad weather conditions, these extra precautions may help you to get to your destination safely.
- Slow Down. Drive more slowly than you normally would and leave more room between you and other motorists when stopping. Wet pavement may cause a loss of traction which can lead to hydroplaning.
- Use Headlights and Wipers. This may seem obvious, but it is incredibly important to remember these steps! Wipers need to be maintained, with replacements ideally occurring every 6 to 12 months for optimal performance. Florida also has laws demanding the use of headlights in rainy conditions, so if your vehicle does not have automatic lights, be sure to turn them on!
- Some Vehicles Should not be Driven. In the case of high winds, vehicles with high centers of gravity (such as SUVs, trucks, and trailers) can be dangerous to drive, and should be avoided unless necessary.
- Go Around. Absolutely never drive through a flooded roadway, as it can be difficult to tell how deep the water really is. Take your time and seek an alternative route.
When driving, always wear a seatbelt, and NEVER drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As more of us become fully vaccinated and start traveling more often, it is imperative that you do not get complacent when it comes to safety. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the carelessness of another driver, our attorneys are here to help you get the justice you deserve. Call our office anytime for a no cost, no obligation legal consultation at (239) 461-5508, or submit your information through our “Contact Us” form.