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Did you know that a staggering 113 million tourists visited Florida in 2016? If you’re planning a trip to the Sunshine State, you might be considering renting a car.

Before you get behind the wheel, however, it’s important to know the top driving mistakes in Florida. It’s also essential to know Florida’s driving state laws.

After all, nothing will put a damper on your vacation more than a car accident. Your safety is critical, and it’s wise to be aware of your potential risks.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes.

A young male driver is pulled over by the Police.

Most Common Driving Mistakes in Florida

Lack of Turn Signals

In Florida, turn signals aren’t just a nice roadside courtesy. They’re legally mandatory.

All drivers must use a turn signal at least 100 feet before turning or changing lanes. This is to maintain safe communication with the drivers around you.

Not using your turn signal can result in a hefty ticket fine. But, what’s more than that? It’s incredibly dangerous. You risk cutting off another driver and not giving them enough time to brake properly.

On the other side of the coin, you should always be focused and alert while driving. Even though it’s the state law, not everyone will follow it, and many people will avoid or forget using their signals. Be prepared!

Read more tips in our article – Miami Driving: Why Drivers Fail to Use Turn Signals

Rolling Stops

Similar to turn signals, stopping at a stop sign isn’t just a nice convenience for your fellow drivers on the road. It’s also the law. You need to come to a complete stop.

Unfortunately, collisions occurring at stop signs are one of the most common driving mistakes in Florida.

You need to make sure you are at a complete stop and assure that you have the right of way before proceeding. Be mindful of other drivers who might not know this important rule.

Tailgating

Not leaving enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you is rude and annoying. It’s also incredibly dangerous and one of the top driving mistakes in Florida.

Why is it so risky? In a nutshell, if the car in front of you needs to make a sudden stop, you may not have enough time to brake or swerve.

Cars can stop for all kinds of reasons. There might be something in the road. The car in front of them might have stopped. Traffic may suddenly build.

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to be mindful of tailgating and avoid it at all costs. Be aware of your environment. And, remember, you can always change lanes!

Speeding

Look, we get it. You have a lot to do on your itinerary, and you’re excited to do it. So, what’s the big deal if you go 5-10 or maybe even 15 MPH faster than the legal speed limit?

To be honest, it’s a huge deal. It’s one of the top driving mistakes, and it’s incredibly risky. Not only do you put your safety at risk, but you also risk the safety of the drivers around you.

Speeding is associated dangers including collisions with other vehicles and single-car accidents (hitting road obstacles or center dividers).

Even if you feel tempted to accelerate, it’s best to focus on planning your time more effectively. Leave for your excursions early. Account for traffic. Practice patience and acceptance on the road. You’ll be safer and so will everyone around you.

Distracted Driving

Whether you’re headed out for a night of partying in Miami or taking the kids to Disneyworld, you might recognize this scene.

Imagine this. Someone finagling with the GPS (which has conveniently lost signal), your phone beeping with your family members texting you, a passenger whining they’re hungry, and you are feeling like you’re about to tear your hair out while behind the wheel.

Rule of thumb for distracted driving? Don’t do it. It’s one of the top driving mistakes in the country, and it can cost you or your loved ones their lives.

While driving, always, always avoid:

  • Using electronics behind the wheel
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Applying makeup or cosmetics
  • Loud, distracting music
  • Driving in unsafe conditions
  • Driving when you don’t feel comfortable in the car

Not Wearing a Seatbelt

Like it or not, your mother was right. You always need to wear a seatbelt, and it’s no different in Florida.

Even if you’re the best driver in the world, you simply cannot account for all road conditions or other drivers.

By not wearing a seatbelt, you jeopardize your safety. After all, do you want to be ejected through a windshield after a bad collision? Yeah, we didn’t think so?

Put the belt on. Of all the driving mistakes a person can make, this is one of the easiest ones to remedy. No excuses.

Florida Weather

Driving mistakes can also happen when people don’t understand the road conditions. On this note, Florida is home to severe weather conditions. These include hurricanes, rainstorms, and flash floods.

All drivers, especially those from out-of-state, need to be prepared to stay safe. Here are some basic measures:

  • Slow down during severe weather conditions
  • Turn headlights and wipers on if raining
  • Avoid driving through flooded areas
  • Be cautious with high winds (extra room to large vehicles)
  • Prepare for inoperable traffic lights
  • Give extra room for vehicles around you

The best rule of thumb? If you’re feeling uncertain or skittish, avoid driving under compromising conditions. Pull over to a safe area if needed. Wait until the weather passes or reach out for help.

It’s never worth the risk.

Final Thoughts

Remember, when it comes to having a happy and memorable vacation, your safety comes first! Brush up on local laws. And, stay alert! Just because you are now informed does not guarantee that everyone else is.

We all know that driving is inherently risky. However, by taking the mentioned precautions, you can reduce the chances of making these top driving mistakes.

Ready to book your rental car? Get started here! We’re happy to help you enjoy your time in the Sunshine State.

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