Has someone ever asked you, “How do people drive in Florida?”
What would you say about it if you were a local?
Perhaps you have a very optimistic opinion about Floridians when it comes to driving, or it could be that you are just having a hard time trying to adjust to the way some locals drive there.
Let’s be fair about it. Florida is a popular destination for tourists in the U.S. and all over the world.
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In 2016, the sunshine state had over 113 million visitors, which speaks highly for its successful tourism industry and economic impact.
Today, the state has become a melting pot of different mixes and cultures and these changes won’t ever seem to stop.
These visitors are subject to drive in unexplored territories to get to their destination, which has a huge impact on the roads.
From traffic congestion to road accidents, Florida has become a dangerous place to drive with almost 400,000 car accidents in 2016, raising more questions than answers to the problematic.
However, the best way to protect yourself against certain drivers in Florida is to align to the basic norms of safety and law.
Find below 10 common driving mistakes people often see when driving in Florida.
The apparent inexactitude of some locals when it comes to driving is translated into speed limit infractions, especially when driving in busy areas.
You may want to blame the tourists but there has been cases in which locals try so intensely to pass other visitors contributing to a major disaster.
When driving in Florida, regardless of your status, either local or visitor, always pay attention to the speed limits signs for your own safety.
Refusing to use turn signals
This is another common driving mistake you may find in Florida that will make you explode, mostly because of the simplicity of the habit, which should not be difficult to do.
Why do some people refuse to use their turn signals when making a turn or switching lanes? It’s a very easy, if not super safe, task.
In fact, it is against the law not to use your signals in Florida, but some people still do it.
A good advice is to focus on the vehicles around you and be always ready to stop in case you face an unexpected maneuver from other drivers.
Tailgating is obnoxious
As people have their own boundaries and spaces, the same applies to vehicles on the road.
Driving in Florida is already a hassle during rush hour, which in most cases tailgating is the cause of many accidents that could’ve been avoided by keeping a prudent distance.
Distance is the magic word against tailgating because that is what it takes to be able to predict other’s drivers intentions. Not to mention that driving too close to other cars makes you look more like an aggressive driver than anything else.
Last-minute turns are disrupting
You may get a pass for making last minute decisions when driving in roads that you are not familiar with. Needless to say, you are still contributing to chaos and traffic.
This is a very common mistake in areas where there are a lot of tourists crowding the roads, which makes locals feel more frustrated about clueless visitors.
Yet, sometimes our GPS gives us wrong directions and we can’t help making a last-minute decision. If that’s your case, you are advised to plan your journey in advance and watch out for drivers who take last-minute decisions.
Let’s go to the basics. Drive on the left lane if you need to pass other vehicles, otherwise stay on the right lane if you need to drive at a slow or moderate speed, enter, or exit the road.
In Florida, many drivers are elderly, which generally means driving slower than you might be used to in other locations. As it could be annoying, you are advised to stay calm and be patient.
If you spot someone driving slowly in the left lane, wait until the roads are clear to pass them.
Stop signs exist for a reason
Some drivers in Florida seem to act as if they are foreign to the stop signs that are located in strategic points of the road.
When it comes to stop signs, there’s no room for evaluating whether or not to press the brake, just come to complete stop.
Before carrying on moving, make sure there’s no other vehicle in your way, which is a basic lesson you learn from your driver’s manual.
Be careful. Some drivers in Florida do not seem to care much about these signs, so stay alert and be able to spot other vehicles coming your way.
Not dealing well with blind spots
Even though we are always reminded about the dangers of not checking properly our blind spots, some Floridians are still changing lanes and turning negligently.
You are strongly advised to check your blind spots, not to mention that you need to react on time every time another driver tries to make a maneuver while you are in their blind spot.
Making illegal turns
It’s common for clueless drivers to make turns when they shouldn’t do it by law. This perfectly applies to visitors who are not familiar with how things work in Florida.
It could be that you miss a turn and while you find the next turn tempting to pull a U-turn, you are not always allowed to do so.
For that reason, look for road signs, which are quite explicit about the rules of the road. You could simply tell if you are not allowed to make a U-turn, but pay more attention to some other drivers who are disappointingly acting against the law.
Distracted driving is huge
Florida welcomes thousands of tourists who rent vehicles and rely on their GPS system to navigate the roads, which is a quite distracting habit.
Or you may spot a local who thinks that they can handle their phone while driving.
Either way, when it comes to distracted driving you will need to be extra cautious as distracted driving is a top cause of crashes not only in Florida but in the U.S.
Not watching out for pedestrians
Like in any place, you will need to watch out for pedestrians and that’s a situation where some Floridans seem to forget about.
Whether you are a tourist or a local, you need to know that pedestrians have the right of way so always double-check before crossing the street.
Pay exclusive attention to vehicles that are allowed to make a right turn as they may not always be courteous. Remember that your safety is what matters the most.