Tips for Safe Holiday Road Travel

Florida Has the Highest Number of Crashes and Uninsured Drivers

Every year, car accidents rise during the winter holiday season. This is bad news in general and worse news for Florida, where crash statistics are already alarmingly high. Florida has more car crashes than any other state, averaging over 1,000 accidents a day. Per data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,112 people died on Florida roads in 2017. Careless and negligent driving, alcohol, and a higher-than-average number of elderly drivers all contribute to Florida’s high crash rate.

You Need Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Florida also has the highest percentage of uninsured motorists on the roads. According to a 2017 survey by the Insurance Research Council, nearly 27 percent of Florida drivers are uninsured.

All of this means that Florida drivers are especially vulnerable. You have a higher chance of being involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, which means that it is important that you purchase uninsured motorist insurance and keep your policy up-to-date.

Road-tripping during the holidays is riskier than at other times of the year, but you can take some steps to safeguard yourself, your vehicle, and your family.

Prepare Ahead of Time to Arrive Safely

If you’re planning a long road trip, have your car serviced prior to leaving. Get an oil change if you need one. Make sure your tires are balanced and in good shape. If you’re nearing a routine maintenance check, take care of it ahead of time. Have any warning lights or alarming sounds investigated prior to getting on the road.

We don’t encounter a lot of ice and snow in Florida, which is why, if you’re headed north, you should do your research. Check out this tip sheet on how to safely navigate icy roads. You should also have an emergency kit on hand with nonperishable food, water, a flashlight, first aid supplies, warm clothes and blankets.

  • Check the weather forecast before you leave, and try to avoid being on the road during storms.
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged, and carry a charger on your trip.
  • Travel with a GPS and paper maps, particularly if you’ll be traveling through rural areas where your cell phone may not have a good signal.
  • Travel with a jumper cable, spare tire, and tire-changing kit.
  • Talk to your Florida Farm Bureau Insurance agent about an auto insurance policy with roadside assistance coverage.

Less crashes occur on holidays than on the days surrounding them. If your celebrations are flexible, plan to drive directly on a holiday.

Stay Safe On the Road

Drive defensively at all times. Remember, there are a lot of exhausted drivers and drivers under the influence out there.

  • Give other cars and particularly big trucks plenty of space.
  • Don’t drive late at night, when exhausted drivers and poor visibility contribute to more accidents.
  • Rest when you’re tired. Take frequent breaks, where you can get out of your car and walk around.
  • Stay hydrated. Hydration fights fatigue and helps prevent blood clots.
  • Don’t text and drive. Turn your cell phone on silent or put it someplace where you won’t be tempted to use it.
  • Make sure everyone is properly buckled and remains so throughout the trip. Children should always be secured in safety seats anytime the vehicle is moving.
  • Obey the speed limit and all traffic laws.
  • Keep pets secured, where they won’t be loose and contribute to accidents. This is safer for you, for other people on the road, and for your pets. A secured pet is less likely to be injured in the event of an accident.
  • Keep holiday gifts and other valuables in the trunk, to help prevent break-ins when your car is unattended.