The fall months are a busy time of the year for Florida’s roadways. Families these days are getting back to the good old days when road trips were a holiday staple. With gas prices low and consumer sentiment high, 2016 has been a record year for U.S. drivers taking to the road – and for the number of car accidents.
With total traffic crashes up almost 9%*, and AAA forecasting another record traveling season for the nation’s drivers, this fall could prove to be a dangerous time to travel. So it’s important to keep in mind a few good safety tips.
Buy UM Insurance
According to FHSMV statistics, there were about 92,000 hit and run crashes in 2015. While the vast majority resulted in only property damage, about 20% resulted in an injury to another person, including serious bodily injury or death. The equates to about 5.75 hit and run crashes per 1,000 drivers on Florida’s roads.
However, those figures are probably low, because most hit and run crashes go unreported to the authorities. Needless to say, hit and run crashes are fairly common in the sunshine state. You can protect yourself from a potential hit and run by buying Uninsured Motorist coverage. “UM coverage”, for short, pays the cost of medical treatment for injuries and pain and suffering you sustain from a crash caused by someone who left the scene of the accident, or by someone who doesn’t carry car insurance.
UM coverage is relatively inexpensive, and completely worth the added cost to your premium. Don’t assume you have UM coverage. It’s an add-on to your existing auto insurance policy.
Don’t drive on high-traffic days
The days in which the most drivers will be on Florida’s roads are days that you probably want to avoid traveling on. That includes the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the three days leading up to Christmas Day.
Other days to avoid are Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), and New Year’s Day. Also, be wary of traveling at night around these days as well – drunk drivers are on the prowl. By most accounts, data for 2014 show crashes involving alcohol were lower from 2013-2014, and that is promising. However, more than 46,000 crashes that occurred on Florida’s roadways were either confirmed or suspected that alcohol played a factor in the wreck.
The bottom line is that traveling too close to holidays, especially at night, can be dangerous if you’re not a careful, fully aware driver.
Avoid driving if you are between the ages of 20-29
Yes, that’s a silly joke – of course you have to be able to drive. But, being a driver in your twenties does tend to put you and others at an elevated risk of causing or being injured by a crash in Florida. Drivers between the ages of 20-29 account for 25% of all of Florida’s crashes, and for 25% of all fatalities that occur on our roadways.
Our best advice for you if you’re in this age group (or any age group, for that matter) is: stay off your cell phone, and keep your eyes on the road. Focus on enjoying a peaceful drive through beautiful South Florida.
*Data Source: Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report 2014