Most car accidents in Florida share similar factors with those across the country. And like those car accidents, many can be avoided by making better choices behind the wheel.
So far this year, Florida has seen 317,721 reported car crashes. More than a third of those led to injuries to the involved parties and over 2,000 led to fatalities. Just over seven percent of Florida car accidents occurred in Hillsborough County. Almost half of the car accidents reported in Hillsborough County this year have resulted in injuries, though thankfully, the County has seen a lower percentage of fatalities than the state at large. (Statistics are accurate as of 10/25/2018.)
The 5 Top Causes of Car Accidents in Florida
Below are the five top causes of car accidents in Florida and why they may occur.
Floridians, like other Americans, love their smartphones. Unfortunately, those same smartphones are a huge distraction when we’re in our vehicles. And it isn’t just our smartphones that are taking our attention away from the road.
Switching radio stations, eating, drinking, having a conversation with a passenger—all of these are considered distracted driving and they each affect our ability to concentrate on the road in a different way.
When we’re driving, we need to visually concentrate on the road in front of us and the vehicles around us. We need to have our hands on the wheels, physically responding to traffic and any obstacles on the road. In addition, we have to be focused on what we’re doing mentally so we can anticipate the actions of those around us and make smart choices.
When we’re distracted while driving, it takes our attention away from the road. For example, while sipping a soda, one of your hands is not on the wheel, thus impairing your ability to effectively maneuver your vehicle. If you look down to change your radio station, you’re no longer seeing what’s in front of your vehicle. And when you respond to a text?
The danger of smartphones while driving is that they require all three types of attention: visual, motor, and mental. That means those resources aren’t being directed towards the activity at hand—driving. This makes smartphones the worst of all driving distractions.
More than 50,000 car accidents were blamed on distracted driving last year alone. All of these were preventable car accidents. Distracted driving is easily avoided by committing to focusing on the road. Turn your phone on silent and enjoy your commute without the persistent ding of notifications.
Many of us have driven above the posted speed limit at one time or another, whether consciously or unconsciously. Running late to a meeting or headed to a fun event, we may have a tendency to get a lead foot. Unfortunately, speeding increases the risk of car accidents. When we’re driving over the speed limit, it can take longer to slow down and react effectively to obstructions in the road or changes in traffic.
The remedy? Well, many won’t like to hear it, but it is important to stick to the posted speed limit and to ensure that there is enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
Drinking impairs our ability to make sound decisions and slows our reflexes, making driving while drunk a recipe for disaster. Most of us are aware of the need for a designated driver or opt to take a cab home when we’ve had a drink. However, too many individuals still choose to get behind the wheel after drinking, endangering not only their lives but the lives of everyone else on the road.
Drunk driving is easily avoidable thanks to ridesharing. However, some people will still choose to get behind the wheel. If you believe there is a drunk driver on the road, make sure to keep your distance. If you can safely pull over, do so and call the authorities to report the license plate, make and model of the vehicle, and the direction in which it was heading. You may just save a life.
Urban areas are renown for aggressive drivers. While generally portrayed as angry honking tailgaters, aggressive drivers are also prone to switching lanes erratically, merging without signaling, speeding, and other dangerous behaviors that can endanger everyone on the road.
When faced with an aggressive driver, keep your distance. Don’t attempt to engage with them as this can make the situation worse.
We all know how quickly a clear sky can turn into a surprise afternoon thunderstorm in the Sunshine state. This quick switch can cause poor driving conditions thanks to slick roads and low visibility and it frequently leads to an increase in car accidents.
When faced with poor weather conditions, don’t hit the road unless it’s necessary. If you are out when a storm strikes, make sure to have your lights on so other vehicles can see you. Drive slowly and keep your distance from other vehicles. Slick conditions will increase braking times.
Defensive Driving: The Ticket for Avoiding Car Accidents in Florida?
Defensive driving is touted by Florida driving manuals as the best way to drive. Essentially, it entails focusing on the road and anticipating others’ actions.
While we’d all like to think that other drivers are paying attention and that they’ll signal for lane changes or turns, experience teaches us that this is not the case. Noticing (and avoiding) erratic drivers and keeping your distance can help you avoid potential accidents.
Unfortunately, not every accident is avoidable. We cannot control every situation. However, if you are injured in an accident, you do have legal options so that you can regain control of your life.
Injured in a Car Accident? Consult With a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
Accidents happen—but when it’s not your fault, you shouldn’t be left with mountains of medical debt or unpaid bills due to lost wages.
Florida law requires that all drivers carry PIP and PLI, however, because the state has a low minimum, most insurance policies are not sufficient to cover the extensive damage and personal injury a car accident can cause. Thankfully, car accident victims do have legal recourse.
If you believe your car accident was caused because of the negligent actions of another driver, contact Burnett Law, P.A. The skilled Tampa car accident lawyers of Burnett Law, P.A., will help you determine the best course of action. Set up a free consultation today.