Travel, Tourism and the Law: Common Issues for “Snowbirds” in Florida

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Thousands of visitors flock to Florida during the winter months. At the same time, road accidents are also surging. Get to know Florida’s roads and make your trip a little safer.

Seniors Abound

Around 4.5 million seniors count Florida as their home. Add another million during the winter season, and you’ll have a clear idea of the enormity of the state’s senior population. Senior drivers aren’t necessarily bad ones — at least not in the usual sense. However, impaired vision and slower reflexes can lead to higher chances of accidents. Seniors also tend to forget using turn signals — giving other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians less time to react and maneuver. Speeding is also a problem.

In Florida, speeding as an offence is not limited to younger people. Many seniors in fast cars are a real problem in the state. Nationally, Florida has the highest number of fatal accidents involving seniors. Older people tend to have weaker skeletal structures and musculature — making them more vulnerable to injuries or worse. Drive a little more defensively and give yourself space to react to whatever situation may arise. Driving below the speed limit also decreases your chances of getting into an accident — while also increasing your chances of surviving one.

party

Watch Out for Impaired or Distracted Drivers

Florida is a party destination — and that doesn’t change come winter. Florida’s nightlife is booming, and there is no shortage of bars or restaurants where you can dine and drink. Unfortunately, instances of drunk driving are also prevalent — with more than a third of all fatal accidents in the state involving DUIs. The state has ramped up its drive to limit the number of DUIs with harsher penalties and requiring a 4-hour TLSAE course, called the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education for new drivers below 18 years of age.

DUI charges in Florida can land you in prison (even if it is your first conviction), along with hefty fines and the suspension of your license. The state also has strict laws on texting and driving. Police officers can flag you for texting, and other motorists can report you if they catch you in the act. Stay safe by focusing on the wheel when driving, limiting your nighttime excursions, or by using a ridesharing service like Lyft or Uber when you do go out to party.

When Accidents Happen

If you are involved in an accident, you need to move your vehicle out of the way as soon as possible. After taking the necessary photos, you must move your car by either driving or pushing it — or call for a tow truck if your vehicle is immobile. Call emergency services immediately and wait for an officer to assess the situation. Note that Florida has a “no-fault” law that requires both parties to turn to their insurance policies for claims — regardless of who may have caused the accident.

Florida’s roads can be a bit more dangerous than the ones you’re used to. Drive defensively and take extra measures to ensure your safety during your winter visit.

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