Safe Summer Travel Tips from Kogan & DiSalvo, P.A.
There are many ways to get from point A to point B. Road trips offer a private, affordable way to travel–with the wind in your hair, the freedom to stretch your legs as needed, and plenty of sightseeing opportunities. If you plan to hit the road this summer, consider these tips from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to stay safe.
- Obey the speed limit. There are countless reasons to obey the speed limit—pick your favorite! To save lives? Speeding kills about 300 people a year in Florida. To save money? The fine for speeding is over $150. To protect your vehicle? Speeding reduces your ability to react in time to sudden road hazards. To conserve fuel? Speeding can reduce your gas mileage by 15-30% on the highway.
- Keep your cool. Practice good driving habits, such as leaving room and signaling before changing lanes, leaving three seconds of space behind the car ahead, staying out of trucks’ blind spots, and exercising patience. Keep your cool and resist the urge to engage aggressively with other motorists. If someone else puts your safety at risk, you can always pull over and dial *FHP (*347) to contact local law enforcement. They’ll likely ask you to describe the vehicle’s color, type, number of doors, and license plate.
- Prepare your vehicle for a long haul. American drivers put over 2,900 billion miles on their tires each year, resulting in 11,000 crashes due to tire maintenance issues, according to the National Highway and Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). They recommend replacing your tires every six years, no matter how many miles you’ve driven. Before leaving, be sure they are properly aligned, inflated, and inspected for cuts, slashes, or damage to the wheel wells. Also, have your vehicle’s oil changed, fluids topped, and air filter cleaned out before you go to ensure safe and reliable performance.
- Buckle up. Since 2009, all passengers under 18 and in the front seat must fasten their safety belts in Florida. While some accident factors are beyond your control, buckling up is one of the best steps you can take, reducing your risk of injury or death by nearly 50 percent in a crash.
- Know the weather forecast. Florida sees more direct hurricane hits than any other U.S. state, so it’s essential to look ahead at the weather forecast. If possible, adjust your travel dates around severe storms. At a minimum, plan evacuation routes, know where to check for road closures, and study best practices for driving in heavy wind and rain.
- Beware of heat stroke. In Florida, it’s against the law to leave a child under six years of age unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for 15 minutes or longer—or for any period of time if the vehicle is running. In the Florida heat, the inside of your vehicle can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes—even if you crack a window. In addition, a child’s body temperature rises 3-5x faster than an adult’s, making the risk of heat stroke all the more likely, even at outdoor temperatures as low as 57 degrees. In Florida, nearly 100 children and hundreds of pets have died of heat exhaustion in Florida vehicles since 1998—second only to Texas. If you see a child or pet locked in a hot car, call 911. Once you’ve phoned the authorities, Florida Statute 768.139 allows you to attempt a rescue with impunity if the vehicle is locked and you have a reasonable belief the car’s occupants are in danger. Use no more force than necessary to help the child or pet out of harm’s way.
- Drive sober. Driving Under the Influence (DUIs) in Florida is measured as a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. Driving impaired can lead to fines, license revocation, jail time, and a criminal conviction on your record for up to 75 years. Planning alternate transportation is ideal if you plan to have a couple of alcoholic beverages. If you see an impaired driver on the road, dial *FHP (*347) to save a life.
From all of us here at Kogan & DiSalvo, we wish you a wonderful journey and happy memories that last a lifetime. If you need us, a free consultation is only a phone call away.