Driving in Hollywood and the rest of Southern Florida comes with certain dangers. There are distracted drivers, heavy traffic, intense weather patterns, wildlife, and other dangers. However, you’re probably used to driving near your home and in your community.
Even though statistics show you’re more likely to be in an accident where you drive most often – near your home – leaving the state does bring its unique challenges. Knowing how to navigate those challenges can help you stay safer, no matter where you’re driving.
Some of the biggest hazards for out-of-state driving include:
1) Highway accidents
When you head outside the borders of Florida, you’re probably going to be using interstate highways and freeways. These offer very different driving experiences when compared with residential streets in Hollywood or your community, potentially making trucking accidents more of a threat. You may be sharing the highway with multiple big trucks and the speed is much higher, narrowing your window for maneuvering. Highway and freeway accidents outside of Hollywood can happen in seconds and because of the higher speeds involved, the results can be deadly.
When driving on highways and freeways, it’s important to obey the speed limit and the differences in the vehicles around you. When you’re driving near large tractor trailers and big rigs, for example, you need to give these larger vehicles more room. Never drive alongside a larger tractor trailer, where the driver cannot see you, or cut off a larger truck. The driver may simply not be able to avoid colliding with your car.
It’s no secret that Florida drivers enjoy sunny weather year-round. If you drive out of state for tourism, for a road trip, to see family, or for some other reason, you might encounter weather systems you’re not used to. Whether it’s sleet, freezing rain, icy roads, or heavy snow, winter weather is in full swing in many parts of the country right now, and if you’re not used to driving in these conditions, it’s easy to lose control of your car.
There are several things you can do if you’ll be dealing with decidedly un-Florida weather on a drive:
- Consider alternate forms of transport. If you’re not used to driving in snow and are headed somewhere with winter conditions, consider taking a bus, plane, train, or other mode of transportation that won’t require you to know the ins and outs of winter driving.
- Get your car ready. If you’re going to be driving in winter conditions, you need snow tires. If you’ll be on unpaved wintry streets, invest in studded tires (they have small spikes to better grip the road surface) or tire chains for added traction. Check your fluids and wipers, adding antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid designed for colder temperatures.
- Check the weather. Know the conditions where you’ll be driving. If a blizzard or storm is headed to the same area, change your plans.
- Give yourself lots of time. When driving on icy or snowy streets, you need to slow down – even if you have winter tires.
- Get ready for the drive. Consider taking a short course from a trained professional to cover the basics of winter driving. A professional can show you how to stay safe if you drive over a patch of ice or what to do if your car won’t start in cold weather.
3) Different roads and geography
Unfamiliarity can mean you’re nervous or hesitant in driving, which can increase your risk of an accident, especially if you’re sharing the road with larger vehicles. New streets and geography can also be distracting.
Try to plan your trip as much as possible. Consider where you’ll be driving and try to look at the route online before you go so there are few surprises. Put away mobile devices and other distractions. Schedule time to stop at rest stops so you can enjoy the scenery and take pictures; this may make you less distracted while you’re driving.
If you are injured while traveling to and from South Florida, you can always contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. We have three offices in the region to serve you – in Hollywood, Homestead, and Miami. Our team of attorneys and legal professionals would be pleased to give you a free, personalized legal analysis of your case.