- Nearly 16 million tourists visited Miami-Dade in 2017
- Almost 3,500 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2016
- More than 6.7 million people used Miami’s public transit system last December
During the holiday season, Miami is a great travel destination. From the beaches to the nightlife to just the general climate, people from all over America (and all over the globe) flock to the South Florida area to drink in the sunshine and have a break from their normal holiday routines.
While vacationing in South Florida can be the most fun you’ve ever had, it can also be dangerous if you don’t know how to get around. As car accident lawyers in Miami, we’ve seen our fair share of wrecks caused by those who are driving on unfamiliar roads.
While Miami’s roads are laid out pretty logically, panic can often set in when you miss a turn or aren’t sure where you’re going. If you will be coming to South Florida this holiday season, be sure to follow these 7 tips for driving in a new, unfamiliar place.
1. Make a Plan
Whether you’re plotting your drive down to Miami or are figuring out all the spots you want to visit while you’re here, you should make a plan. Figure out the best routes to get to where you’re going, and what you need to get there.
Don’t rely solely on your phone or GPS for directions; electronics are bound to fail right when you need them most. Consult a physical roadmap so you have a general idea of what roads you need to take. If needed, be ready to pull over and wait for your GPS to recalibrate if you don’t have a map with you.
2. Check on Local Laws
There are few incidents more inconvenient than being ticketed in a different city, much less a different state. Be sure you check the , as well as any states you’ll be passing through. Otherwise, you may find yourself pulled over and handed a citation.
One of the most important laws to follow is the speed limit. Limits are posted for a reason, and at this time of year, officers will be especially vigilant about speeders. You should also check laws about cell phone use, driving lane usage and other local law variations to stay out of trouble — and out of a wreck.
3. Keep Your Eyes on the Road
When you’re taking a long road trip, it’s easy to get distracted. Whether you’re checking billboards for the next rest stop or checking the GPS to make sure you’re still heading in the right direction, taking your eyes off the road momentarily can easily lead to a car accident.
If you have a passenger, let them take care of everything that doesn’t involve driving. That means letting them be the DJ, navigator and everything in between. The less you have to worry about, the better you can focus on the road. Your passengers will thank you for getting them to their destination unharmed!
4. Don’t Underestimate the Dangers of Drowsy Driving
An estimated 6,000 fatal accidents a year are caused by drowsy driving. When you drive tired, your reflexes are dulled in the same way as if you were driving drunk. No matter how tight your schedule is, you should never, ever get behind the wheel if you’re feeling tired. It simply isn’t worth your wellbeing.
If you have passengers that are driving age, set up a rotation so no one is driving too long. If that’s not possible, map out rest stops and/or motels so you have a place to stop and sleep when you need to. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up to get in a wreck before you even get to Miami.
5. Rent the Right Car
If you’re flying into Miami or otherwise don’t want to drive your own car around South Florida, you’ll likely want to rent a car. It can be very tempting to rent a car with a lot of horsepower and beautiful curves. Don’t give into this temptation unless you know what you’re doing.
Renting a car that is completely unfamiliar to you can be a dangerous move. For instance, if you usually drive an SUV from the ‘90s and decide to rent a modern sports car, you could find yourself flying out of the parking space with a soft touch to the pedal. Find a car similar to your own, or at least similar to one you’re used to driving.
6. Defensive Driving Is the Best Driving
This goes for tourists as well as locals. If you’re driving around South Florida, make sure you’re doing so with other drivers’ actions in mind. Be ready to stop suddenly and let traffic merge from other lanes. Other drivers can be unpredictable, but with a defensive mindset, you can react properly.
In the same vein, be as predictable as possible. This means using your turning signal and driving at consistent speeds. If you drive erratically, you run a greater risk of getting in a car accident in Miami.
7. Avoid Driving Altogether
The best way to avoid a car accident is to avoid driving altogether. Luckily, Miami has a fantastic public transit system that can get you anywhere you need to go in the city. Whether you need a ride from the airport or just need to get from one point to another, Miami public transportation is a great option.
If you don’t want to use public transit, there are other options to avoid driving. You can always hail a cab or call an Uber to take a ride with someone who knows their way around the city. Miami is also relatively pedestrian-friendly, and there are options like public electric scooters to help you get around.
Call a Car Accident Attorney in Miami to Learn About Your Legal Options
If you’re visiting South Florida for the holidays and are injured in a car accident, you have legal options. Call the Miami car accident lawyers at Steinger, Greene & Feiner for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re here to help you get the full compensation you deserve!