What Makes Florida Roads So Dangerous to Drive On?
By Space Coast Daily // May 27, 2023
If you live in Florida, then you probably know how hazardous the roads can be. Other drivers are not always safe and this results in a higher number of deadly accidents than most other states in the country.
Injuries from serious crashes appear in several different ways, but traumatic brain injuries caused by car accidents are amongst the worst. Any accident can result in life-changing impairment for you and this is highly concerning when you live somewhere with increased risk.
Florida roads are particularly dangerous for several reasons. Let’s dive into them now so you can understand the importance of driving extra cautiously here.
High Traffic Volume
To start, Florida is the third most populated state in the country despite being significantly smaller than the two states ranked higher (California and Texas).
As a result, public roads are more densely packed with more people needing to use limited roadways. With roads facing more traffic volume than other states, this poses two specific problems.
Firstly, this means there are more drivers around that might drive unsafely and cause an accident with you. Many accidents are avoidable with good driving habits and defensive driving, but additional encounters with other cars means more chances for something to eventually go wrong.
The other issue with a greater traffic volume is that public roads physically experience more use. In turn, they wear down quicker and this results in dangerous issues like missing lane markers and road damage.
Because there are more drivers on packed Florida roads, a greater volume of accidents occur. Watch out for Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County streets especially as these tend to be the busiest areas daily.
Prevalence of Distraction
One of the biggest problems on Florida roads is the prevalence of distractions.
While distracted driving is a concern across the country, Florida is notorious for accidents stemming from distraction. This is largely due to relatively lax phone usage laws and a higher incidence of tourists.
Florida has recently made texting while driving a primary offense, but enforcement is lacking, and imposed fines are extremely minor. For context, the first time you are pulled over for texting and driving you simply face a $30 fine. This amount does not feel punitive and does little to deter drivers from avoiding their phones.
While cell phones are part of the problem, distracted tourists are another. Because tourists want to soak up the sights, they aren’t always paying close attention to the road. This is incredibly risky due to how dangerous Florida roads already are and now they pose additional risks to other drivers.
With this in mind, Florida roads simply have more distracted drivers. U.S. Route 1 and Interstate 4 both experience significant problems with this.
Impatient Driving Culture
Another major problem is that there is an impatient driving culture in Florida. This is a product of the highly diverse backgrounds of the people inhabiting the state.
Florida roads can experience a variety of different drivers including tourists, locals, and people from foreign countries like Cuba. As a result, everyone has a different understanding of the law and what might be accepted.
Additionally, because there are such few roads that are packed with so many drivers, many people on the road are simply impatient. They want to get to their destination now and waiting is a massive inconvenience.
When this inconvenience happens daily, it can be easy to lose patience and drive in unsafe ways like never signaling, cutting other drivers off, and refusing to let others in.
Even if you do nothing wrong, just existing on the road ahead of another driver in Florida might frustrate them because you’re in their way. Other drivers will likely be impatient and you’ll have to carefully pick your opportunities to merge and get over.
Severe Weather Conditions
While Florida is known for beaches, sunshine, and partying, its weather can also become a safety hazard for drivers.
Florida and Miami experience a relatively tropical climate. As a result, stormy weather is a genuine concern. Storms damage the road and cause hazards like cracks and potholes, which can easily lead to damage to your car or an accident.
Making the situation worse, it can be hard to see damaged roads during a storm. If it is flash flooding or visibility is especially bad, you may be unable to tell the difference between a minor puddle and a deep pothole filled with water.
Good weather is critical for safe driving, but conditions aren’t always ideal in Florida. Keep an eye out for potholes whenever you’re driving, never trust a puddle, and don’t drive during a storm.
More Uninsured Drivers
A final reason why Florida streets are so dangerous is that they have more uninsured drivers on them.
Insurance is required to drive in every state (aside from Virginia and New Hampshire), but that doesn’t always mean everyone on the road is insured. Roughly 13% of drivers across the country are uninsured, but that number is closer to 20% in Florida.
Uninsured drivers are not only problematic when trying to recover losses after an accident, but they are also more likely to cause a crash.
This may seem counterintuitive because they have more to lose if caught in a crash, but refusing to purchase insurance indicates a disregard for social expectations and safety. In turn, many uninsured drivers have poor judgment and do not always make good driving decisions.
Taking this into consideration, uninsured drivers are extremely problematic and Florida has a lot of them. Ensure that you have uninsured motorist coverage anytime you are on Florida roads.
Florida is one of the deadliest states to drive in. The state has many inherent risk factors that increase the chance of accidents happening and they are often severe.
Specifically, Florida experiences a higher traffic volume, distraction is incredibly prevalent, there is an impatient driving culture, weather conditions can be severe, and there are many uninsured drivers.
If you ever have to drive in Florida, remember that other drivers won’t always be safe. Prioritize safety yourself and remain defensive at all times to avoid an accident.