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The Impact of Tourists on Florida’s Road Safety

Car Accidents

Florida welcomes over 100 million tourists every year. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that tourism makes up a significant portion of Florida’s economy. However, people often overlook the impact tourism has on those of us who live here year-round, especially when it comes to the hazards we face whenever we get behind the wheel. The impacts on road safety are significant. Whatever the cause of your accident, a car accident lawyer can help if you have been seriously injured. 

Why Tourists Create Hazardous Driving Conditions

To be clear, tourists are not per se dangerous drivers. Safe drivers tend to be safe drivers no matter where they are. With so many tourists coming to Florida, however, it is certain that there will be more careless or negligent drivers on the road. These drivers are even more likely to drive carelessly in light of the following factors. 


This may seem obvious, but tourists are often unfamiliar with the area where they are staying. As a result, they may try to make unsafe lane changes, last-minute turns, or u-turns in places where they are not allowed. They may be unaware of speed limits or road hazards. On top of all of that, they may be looking at their phone or their GPS unit for directions to where they need to go. Altogether, these factors can significantly increase the likelihood of getting into a car accident. 

Rental Car Unfamiliarity

Many tourists arrive by plane and then rent a car when they get here. This means that they may be unfamiliar with the car’s controls or how the vehicle handles. For example, the driver may not know how to turn on the headlights, how to engage the windshield wipers, or how to defrost the windshield. This can quickly lead to a very dangerous situation that can result in a car accident. if the driver doesn’t know how quickly the vehicle stops

Distracted Driving

As mentioned above, tourists are more likely to be looking at their phones or other devices for directions. However, they may also be looking for street signs and landmarks or simply taking in the scenery. They may have excited, noisy children in the car with them or a dog that needs to get out. For these reasons, tourists tend to be more distracted than other drivers on the road. 

Aggressive Driving

Tourists may be on a tight schedule to be at a certain place at a certain time and may have misestimated how long it will take to get there. In addition, they may be stressed or tired, causing them to drive aggressively because they “just want to get there.” Aggressive driving is always dangerous as it creates a hazard for everyone else on the road. 

Driving While Intoxicated

Tourists are here to have a good time. They may have enjoyed some drinks while at the beach or out to dinner. This is perfectly fine until they get behind the wheel of a car. It goes without saying, but driving while intoxicated is negligent driving, even if the driver’s BAC isn’t over the legal limit. Any amount of alcohol can slow the driver’s reflexes and alter their perception. 

Road Safety Tips for Driving During Tourist Season

Arguably, tourism “season” is year-round in Florida. That said, tourism is probably at its highest during the winter months when visitors from the north are fleeing freezing temperatures. Conversely, the number of visitors is probably at its lowest during the summer months. Regardless of the time of year, here are some suggestions for staying safe on our roads: 

  • Think about your route and plan accordingly. Try to avoid tourist attractions such as beaches, amusement parks, sporting or concert venues, amusement parks, or natural parks. You should also consider what times traffic in those areas will be at their peak and, if possible, adjust the timing of your trip to avoid those times. You may also want to avoid those areas at night when drivers are more likely to be driving while under the influence of alcohol. 
  • Factor in the Weather. Adverse weather conditions such as rain, fog, or heavy winds can make driving especially hazardous. Consider staying off the roads during heavy storms. If you find yourself on the road during adverse weather conditions, adjust your driving accordingly. 
  • Drive defensively. The best thing you can do to avoid an accident is to drive defensively. Watch your speed. Increase your distance, especially the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Pass with care and let speeders pass you. If you find yourself in a stressful, heavy traffic situation, do not hesitate to get off the road and find an alternative route you are more comfortable with. 
  • Stay alert. Key a close eye on other drivers on the road and be on the lookout for potential hazards. Drivers who seem unsure of where they are going can suddenly stop or make dangerous turns. Make sure you keep your distance from any other drivers who are driving erratically. In addition, remain focused on your own driving. Refrain from any distractions such as looking at your phone, talking with your passengers, or eating and drinking while driving. 

While you can’t control what other drivers do, you can control your own actions and your own efforts can go a long way toward keeping yourself safe. If you are involved in a car accident despite your best efforts, consider contacting a car accident lawyer to discuss your options. 

Contact Searcy Denney to Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer Today

We welcome tourists to our great state and truly hope they enjoy themselves while they are here. Nonetheless, it would be foolish to ignore the reality that more tourists means more danger for all drivers. At Searcy Denney, we know how a car accident can change your life forever. If you have been injured in a car accident and need help, contact us today by calling 800-780-8607 to schedule a free consultation.

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