You’ve learned a bit about how roads are set up in Miami. Now you know that you may or may not want to rely on public transportation. You’ve learned that law enforcement takes parking very seriously. Now it’s time to answer the biggest question; how exactly do you drive in the city once you’ve gotten behind the wheel and started the engine?
The good news is that driving in Miami really isn’t any different than driving in any other unfamiliar city in the country. Sure it’s congested, and you’ll be mixing with locals who know the road and are notoriously known as some of the worst drivers in the nation, but you can do it whether you are visiting from outside the country or just outside the city.
Here are some safe driving tips to follow to keep yourself safe on Miamiâ€™s roads. While some may seem quite obvious, they will still serve as good reminders and help keep you accident free during your visit to Miami.
Driving for International Visitors
1. Drive on the Right
Always drive on the right hand side of the road, and look for speed limit signs along the right shoulder. Driving in the left-most lane is not permissible unless you are on a one-way street. If you see an emergency vehicle, pull as close to the right shoulder or curb (the side of the road) as you safely can.
2. Buckle Up
Florida law requires that drivers are buckled in. The same goes for passengers. Make it a habit to click your belt closed as soon as you get settled in your seat. Children who weigh less than 40 pounds or are under the age of 4 must be in a child car seat.
3. Stay Sober
Like all other states in the nation, it is against the law to drive while under the influence of an intoxicating substance, so be sure to stay sober. Driving under the influence is taken very seriously in the United States. You don’t want to have your holiday ruined with a ticket or a serious accident. Penalties for a conviction include fines, jail time and more.
4. Remember â€œFHPâ€
If you are on one of the interstates in the city or outside of it, you can dial “FHP” from your cell phone to reach the Florida Highway Patrol. They will give you instructions or send people out to help you depending on the situation. It’s a good number to program into your phone, so you have someone to contact quickly if you are involved in an accident. The emergency phone number in the States is 911. You can dial that number for help as an alternative to dialing FHP.
5. Know the Tolls
There is nothing more aggravating for locals on the highway than getting stuck behind a tourist who had no idea they were going to encounter a toll booth. There are more tolls in Florida than you are probably used to. In fact, you are better off expecting to have to pay a toll than not. Consider yourself pleasantly surprised if you get down a stretch of roadway free and clear.
6. Road Signs
Road signs and marking on the streets and highways are different than they are in your home country. In some instances, they are the same marking but mean different things. You will find road signs that are pertinent to you on the right side of the road. Green signs mark your way, yellow signs are warnings and red signs indicate that you must do something.
Driving in Miami Is Also Different for Domestic Tourists
You have lived here in the United States your whole life and will be vacationing in our beautiful city. You think that you don’t have to brush up on your driving — you’ve had your license for decades. You may be a great driver at home, but it would be a good idea to brush up and learn about driving specifically in Miami. It can be different, especially if the area you live in is more rural.
Understand that you are going to see more pedestrians in the city than you probably see at home. You will see more crosswalks, more bikers and more golf carts. In many cases, these people have the right of way and not yielding to them could earn you a ticket. The weather in Southern Florida can turn on a dime. Imagine driving down the expressway and suddenly not being able to see due to a curtain of rain. Always check the weather reports while you are here.
People who live in or commute to Miami are used to driving here. They may drive aggressively. Always stay focused on the road ahead, and pay attention to the vehicles around you. Be ready to react and maneuver if the situation calls for it. If you are a hesitant or nervous driver, you may want to consider using a ride sharing service, public transportation or another option to get where you need to go.
If you are involved in an accident in Miami, give our office a call today. We can review the details of your incident and advise you of your legal rights. Your first consultation will be held at no cost to you. Feel free to contact us today.