Safe Summer Travel
Traveling throughout Florida can be just as fun as getting to your destination. During the holiday and vacation seasons, Florida’s roads can be some of the busiest in the country. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is committed to the safety of all motorists on our roads, educating everyone on safe driving practices to always Arrive Alive.
Slow Down, Stay Cool – Obey All Speed Limits
Speeding is against the law and extremely dangerous. Speeding reduces your ability to detect danger and react safely. Speeding also significantly reduces gas mileage and fines can cost more than $150. But most importantly, speeding kills an average of 300 people each year in Florida. No matter how eager you are to get to your destination, speeding and driving aggressively is dangerous.
If you observe aggressive driving:
- Don’t engage with the driver (this can result in road rage);
- Dial *FHP (*347) from your cell phone or 911 for local law enforcement;
- If possible, get the license plate and/or a brief description of the vehicle (color, type, doors, etc.); and
- Remember, there is nothing wrong with safely pulling over and allowing distance between you and the aggressive driver but think safety first always.
Are you driving aggressively or speeding? Slow down and make sure you:
- Stay out of the “no zone” of trucks (blind spot of trucks);
- Don’t cut off vehicles;
- Leave room when changing lanes; and
- Stay patient. Being patient is the key to ensure you’re not driving aggressively.
Obeying speed limits and reducing your speed in changing weather conditions reduces the probability and severity of a crash. All motorists must obey speed limits and are responsible for knowing the speed limit on the roadway.
Tire Safety and Vehicle Preparation
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers in the United States put more than 2,900 billion miles on their tires each year with approximately 11,000 tire-related crashes. Tires are your vehicle’s first line of defense on the road. To ensure everyone’s safety, regularly inspect and maintain your tires. Visit our Tire Safety page for more information.
A recall is issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, such as an airbag, car seat or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards. A recall notice is sent from the manufacturer to the consumer. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or, in rare cases, repurchasing the vehicle. Be sure to check for recalls before you head out for summer travel. Visit our Vehicle Safety Recalls page for more information and to check if your vehicle has been issued a safety recall.
Safety Belts for Drivers and Passengers – Buckle Up
The Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law, effective June 30, 2009, requires that all drivers, all front seat passengers and all passengers under the age of 18, fasten their safety belts in Florida. Every time you get in a vehicle, no matter where you are sitting, buckle up. That click reduces your risk of being injured or killed in a crash by almost 50 percent.
Hurricane Season and Emergency Preparedness
Given its location and miles of coastline, Florida has seen more direct hits from hurricanes than any other state in the U.S. As residents move to the state and the population grows, many Floridians may be unprepared for such severe weather.
This year, get prepared early:
- Know your evacuation routes;
- Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and road-ready;
- Check for vehicle and tire recalls and make any necessary repairs;
- Register your Emergency Contact Information (ECI);
- Be sure you know where to check for road closures; and
- Study up on best driving practices in inclement weather in case you have to drive.
Heat Stroke Prevention – Do Not Leave Children or Pets in a Car
Florida law states that a parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for a child younger than six years of age must not leave the child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for a period in excess of 15 minutes or for any period of time if the motor of the vehicle is running, the health of the child is in danger, or the child appears to be in distress. For the safety of your children and pets, never leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle, even for a short period of time. For more information, please visit our Child Safety page.
- The inside of a vehicle can heat up by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and cracking a window open does little to keep the vehicle cool.
- A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s and heatstroke in a closed vehicle can occur when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees outside.
- Since 1998, 96 child heatstroke deaths have occurred in Florida, more than any other state except Texas. Hundreds of pets die each year from heat exhaustion when left in vehicles.
If you see a child or pet locked in a hot car, take immediate action by calling 911. Florida law, section 768.139, Florida Statutes, provides for the rescue of a vulnerable person or domestic animal from a motor vehicle. These good Samaritans may have immunity for damage to the motor vehicle if:
- The vehicle is locked and there is no other reasonable way the person or animal to get out;
- Has reasonable belief based upon the circumstances that entry is necessary because the person or animal is in imminent danger;
- Notifies law enforcement or calls 911 prior to or immediately after entering the vehicle;
- Uses no more force than is necessary; and
- Remains with the person or animal until law enforcement or other first responder arrives.
For more information, please visit the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) website.
While motorists must pay special attention when driving around pedestrians, there are important safety laws and tips for pedestrians to follow, such as:
- Always walk on the sidewalk if there is one. If no sidewalks are present, walk against the direction of traffic so that you can see oncoming vehicles.
- Always cross the roadway where pedestrians are expected, at corners or in crosswalks. Cross where pedestrians are expected.
- Always watch for traffic when crossing the street.
- Never enter the street from between parked cars. If crossing mid-block cannot be avoided, pedestrians must yield right of way to vehicles on the roadway.
- Be seen. Wear bright, reflective colors on clothes, shoes, hats and wristbands. Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
- Pay attention. Avoid wearing headphones so that you can hear the traffic and pedestrians around you. Never text or look at your cell phone when crossing the street.
- Follow pedestrian signs and signals. Pedestrians should yield right of way to vehicles if the crosswalk signal is red or “Don’t Walk.”
- Refer to the official Florida Driver License Handbook for more information on bicyclist and pedestrian safety.
Drive Sober – Impaired Driving Prevention
Under Florida law, a DUI results from an impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. Driving impaired not only puts everyone on the roadway in danger, it can have serious legal and monetary consequences. Penalties for DUIs can include expensive fines, license revocation and jail time. Convictions can remain on your record for 75 years.
- Plan ahead, designate a driver or call a ride service – it is much cheaper than a DUI arrest.
- If you see an impaired driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement or dial *FHP (*347). This call could save a life.
For more information, please visit our Impaired Driving webpage.
Low-Speed and All-Terrain Vehicles
Florida’s mild climate makes outdoor activities a year-round option. Low-speed vehicles (LSV), golf carts and off-highway vehicles (OHV) are a great way to enjoy local communities and natural spaces. It is important that consumers understand the differences between LSVs, golf carts and OHVs, the traffic laws applying to these vehicles, and the regulations regarding registration, titling and insurance.
Visit our Low-Speed and All-Terrain Vehicles page for addition resources.
Press Release: 2021
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